David Brooks’ may be the smartest of the New York Times stable of columnists, and let that be a lesson to all of us. Intelligence, wisdom and erudition are not a sufficient bulwark against the often adverse influence of one’s culture, accurately described as similar to the relationship of water to a fish. In this case, Brooks’ culture, his water, is defined by his almost unanimous Democrat, progressive, Trump-loathing colleagues, the corrupt and biased paper he works for, and its admitted partisan anti-President editor-in-chief, Dean Baquet.
Usually Brooks is careful about pandering to that culture or revealing how much his surroundings have marinated his brain and values; after all, his alleged role at the Times is House Conservative, a position that slowly but surely has devolved into “House Fake Conservative Who Enables The Times’ Progressive Agenda With An Occasional Sojourn Into Brooksian Pop Philosophy. His column in today’s Times, however, pretty much blows that pretense away.
It is titled “Impeach Trump. Then Move On: Stop distracting from the core issue, elite negligence and national decline.” (Only David Brooks would use a phrase like “elite negligence” that has no obvious meaning.) The piece outs Brooks as thoroughly under the power of his captors in its first three paragraphs:
Is it possible that more than 20 Republican senators will vote to convict Donald Trump of articles of impeachment? When you hang around Washington you get the sense that it could happen.
The evidence against Trump is overwhelming. This Ukraine quid pro quo wasn’t just a single reckless phone call. It was a multiprong several-month campaign to use the levers of American power to destroy a political rival.
Republican legislators are being bludgeoned with this truth in testimony after testimony. They know in their hearts that Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses. It’s evident in the way they stare glumly at their desks during hearings; the way they flee reporters seeking comment; the way they slag the White House off the record. It’ll be hard for them to vote to acquit if they can’t even come up with a non-ludicrous rationale.
Such an opening is not designed to make open-minded readers read on. If this junk were not under Brooks’ byline, I’d probably stop reading, as I often do with similar screeds by his deranged and dishonest colleagues like Charles M. Blow, Thomas Friedman, Michelle Goldberg, David Leonhardt, and others, who have spent three years stoking the hate of the Times’ overwhelmingly Democratic readership.
Let’s examine some of Brooks shared delusions:
- I not only “hang around” Washington, I live in Greater Washington, and I don’t get the impression that Republicans, GOP Senators, and people who are actually paying attention think President Trump should be impeached, much less removed from office.
I do get the impression that most Washingtonians don’t like Trump, particularly his style. Hell, I don’t like Trump. Washington, at least after the Swamp-dwellers flee to the suburbs, is dominated by the black community, and the Big Lie that Trump is a racist has been beat into its collective head for so long that blacks here believe that the President hates them. However, those who are not complicit in the various coup plots know that not liking a President isn’t a legal justification for impeaching him.
Of course Brooks, the classic elitist snob, detests Trump, because so much of the antipathy against him is based on class bias. He’s an unmannerly boor, after all; he doesn’t read much; he watches Fox News, he seems to have a speaking vocabulary of about a thousand words, he likes junk food, he has spent his life chasing money and hedonistic pleasures; he’s a businessman, not a scholar, artist, or dedicated public servant. Yecch. Nobody like that goes to Manhattan cocktail parties. ‘How dare someone like that represent someone like me?’ the little man in David’ brain shouts.
So of course someone like Brooks thinks that two-thirds of the Senate might vote to destroy the Presidency in order to save it. It’s a wish. It’s a rationalization too: “Everyone will do it,” and that will validate Brooks’ unconscionable betrayal of what once were his own values.
- No, the evidence against Trump is not “overwhelming.” In fact, it is underwhelming .People who have been out to remove the President since before he was inaugurated keep saying this, but oddly, when you try to pin them down to exactly what is the “overwhelming” evidence they are referring to, they start equivocating, making false statements, misrepresenting law and history, and proving that only their hate, their bias, and their absorption of “resistance” cant is “overwhelming.”
Theories that he has violated laws that have never been interpreted the way Trump’s lynch mob has interpreted them, for example, are not “overwhelming.” So much of the alleged case against Trump—emoluments, obstruction of justice, violating democratic norms, abuse of power, election law violations for “accepting something of value”—relies on these creative interpretations of the law recently contrived for the purpose of impeaching President Trump. They are overwhelming only in the sense that they have been devised in great volume, and have been promoted by the media relentlessly.
- Brooks is, or once was, too smart to try to get away with this: “This Ukraine quid pro quo wasn’t just a single reckless phone call. It was a multiprong several-month campaign to use the levers of American power to destroy a political rival.” Joe Biden may be a political rival, but as Brooks well knows, he was also a Vice-President of the United States who may well have warped U.S. policy to line the pockets of his son. At very least, Biden violated the government’s Executive Branch conflict of interest rules and the prohibition of raising the “appearance of impropriety.” Presidents and VP’s are explicitly excluded from those laws, but as the heads of the government, violating them is a still a serious breach of duty. If Biden were only a private citizen and a Trump critic, Brooks would have an excuse for writing what he did. However, investigating corruption in the highest offices of the land is a legitimate and important pursuit, and one that a President can and should seek assistance from foreign governments to accomplish when appropriate.
Ironically, as has been remarkably true throughout the Coup Years, Congressional Democrats are doing exactly what they falsely Trump say should be impeached for: illicitly manipulating a legal process to destroy a “political rival.” The problem is that the President really is a political opponent of the Democratic Congress, and he was elected specifically to be one. Biden, at this point, is only aspiring to be a political rival of the President. He has no power. He’s a bumbling, rapidly aging pol who never had a realistic chance of being nominated, and will not be.
There is, in other words, a valid case that Biden is not being targeted as a political opponent, but there is no question that as a former VP whose potential corruption was never investigated (like so many of the Obama administration’s machinations), Biden’s conduct is a legitimate object of Presidential concern.
- Any GOP Senator who can’t come up with a non-ludicrous rationale for rejecting the weak arguments for impeachment is too dumb and inarticulate to be a Senator. I don’t question Brooks’ assertion that many Republicans are this incompetent, but that doesn’t make the arguments Brooks is claiming are irrefutable any better.
From there, Brooks moves on to more typical Brooks-speak: the public isn’t engaged, the public doesn’t care, the public is cynical. the public is gloomy, the public assumes “the nation is in decline.” This is Brooks projecting the views of his captors that have become his own onto everyone else.
Trump supporters are not resigned to American decline; just the opposite, in fact. Trump’s message was as optimistic as Obama’s, just less of a con. “Make America Great Again” is a call to reverse American decline: the cultural debate is over what decline is.
Trump’s foes are also foes of American exceptionalism: they want global government, European-style socialism, the penalization of success, racial spoils, equality of outcomes, speech restrictions, open boarders, complete rejection of human rights for the unborn, the re-casting of core cultural values. I agree; in that direction lies American decline, if not destruction. Those who don’t want to see the Democrats weaponize impeachment to remove one of their major obstacles to those goals, however, are not resigned to decline at all.
The Democratic Party/resistance/ mainstream media alliance has given up on the idea of the United States of America, in part because a system that could elect someone they detest cannot possibly be a valid one. That’s the side that David Brooks as been beguiled into joining. Thus he can write, as his closing paragraph,
“This sense of elite negligence in the face of national decline is the core issue right now. Impeachment is a distraction from that. As quickly as possible, it’s time to move on.”
No, David, you sad and confused hostage. Your favorite elites want to speed national decline, and getting rid of Donald Trump is essential to that goal. Those who know that those elites have betrayed the public’s trust understand what’s at stake.
Once you did as well.
21 thoughts on “David Brooks’ Stockholm Syndrome”
David Brooks was writing about how the “deep state” was going to un-do Donald Trump in an opinion piece published less than one month after Trump was inaugurated, dated February 17, 2017. If I recall correctly, the term “deep state” was not even in common usage at that time, but Brook’s opinion piece described it quite accurately. In retrospect, he was right on target. See the opinion piece here:
That was David Brooks, not Patti Hearst Brooks.
I appreciate David Brooks for what he is — an example of a Washington elitist that reflects accurately what many on the right refer to as the Swamp. He is a creature of Washington, and a perfect example of what happens to many principled people after they spend several years in the place.
What strikes me about this is how valueless his arguments have become. Brooks has forgotten what American values are, or has had them beaten or indoctrinated out of him (Stockholm Syndrome seems very apt to me). He now relates more to his captors at the Times than his own principles, never mind the values America has spend 240+ years defining, refining, and defending.
I understand how people on the Left could ignore the compelling argument that you just wrote above — “ends justify the means,” after all, is their raison d’etre. But what gets me is how smart guys like Brooks cannot see this, or fears what would happen if he explains it. I think the shock of Trump’s bull-in-a-china-shop (is that cultural appropriation, Lefties?) style has dulled their wits, and forced only a rejection of Trump the person into the front of their collective brainpans, blocking their ethics alarms as well as their rationality when it comes to all things Trump.
Yeah, that’s probably right. At least two of them, though, have reasons to vote against him that will overcome rationality — Collins for pure politics, and Romney because he personally loathes Trump more than he loves the Republic. But other than the flighty Lisa Murkowski, who could go either way, that should be the extent of defections. I can’t wait to hear their statements of justification — that should be a fun post!
I would go further and say that Trump’s opponents are the equivalent of aliens — their values have never been American values. It’s as if the Democratic party has intellectually moved to Belgium or Argentina for their political values, and they hope to replace those that have been part of American culture for almost two and a half centuries. Rejecting American exceptionalism is necessary in order to replace the American ethic with their own.
I can’t even get my head around “elite negligence,” except as it defines the problem. The problem is the “elites” in Washington, who have become insular and divorced from the values they have been elected and hired to defend. Brooks is transparently one of them, and it’s hard for Brooks to see the decline of his own cognitive ability. But it’s pretty obvious to the rest of us.
Romney no doubt would vote for conviction. Like McCain, he’s a self loathing fool who runs back to the arms of the media and leftist elites who trashed him when he ran. He has no problem forgiving then for the lies told when he ran for president. But Trump, who didn’t attack him first, is unforgivable.
I really don’t get those that want to make us like Europe. Why not just go there? I guess it’s easy for me to think that way as I’m working for a multi-national conglomerate who makes it easy to relocate. I could land a job in about 5 different European countries without too much effort and they’d pay to move me.
I stay here because this is the closest to free market libertarian government you’ll find. I resent that they want to destroy the one example of it in the world.
I actually don’t see Romney voting for conviction. He may be a Never Trumper, but ultimately he is still a Republican. He has a lot to lose and not a whole lot to gain by standing up to be counted with the party that treated him like garbage instead of the party that nominated him. Unlike McCain, he isn’t terminally ill, and he hopes to continue his political career. It’s one thing to cast a vote against a policy initiative. It’s one thing even to cast a vote against a court nominee. Voting to turn your own party’s president out of office is a bridge too far, and would hurt him in the long run, Susan Collins, maybe, depending on how her own numbers look, and maybe the GOP would look the other way if it helps her keep her seat – they’d rather she cast an ultimately meaningless vote and keep her seat than back the president all the way and put their majority in danger, plus she’s probably owed a pass (this time only for being the vote that put now-Justice Kavanaugh over the top. Lisa Murkowski I think no one expects to support the president, since Planned Parenthood basically owns her.
All of that said, the idea that 20 GOP Senators would break ranks with their president and their party to vote to remove their own president is ludicrous on the current record, and maybe ludicrous in any circumstance. I don’t doubt that if the situation were reversed the Democrats would march in lock-step to save their president. They already did with Bill Clinton. Not a single Democrat voted for conviction on either charge, even though there was more compelling evidence than there is now. I also don’t doubt that if the situation were reversed the media would be making the pitch “leave the President alone! He’s got a country to run!” Clinton may have been an adulterous perjurer who obstructed justice, but he was THEIR adulterous perjuring obstructionist, and they weren’t going to let him fall.
That’s perfectly OK, though, goes their pattern of thought. After all, Bill was all about women’s rights, the ones he wasn’t beguiling and using, anyway. On the other hand, this orange upstart is a pig and a monster who puts children in cages, so it’s perfectly understandable that they would expect HIS party to break with him and “get on the right side of history” with them, even if they really aren’t on the right side, because if they were they’d be Democrats already. The Democrats have been drinking too much of their own bath water if they believe that.
As for Brooks, it’s hard to say more than what’s already been said. I think it might be even simpler than Stockholm Syndrome. David Brooks wants to retain his cushy job and everything that goes with it, including getting invited to those Manhattan cocktail parties and maybe, just maybe mind you, eventually being invited to take a sail with a real live Kennedy. I’m sure his editor has made it clear to him that if he wants to retain all those things, then he needs to continue to fulfill his role. That role is to provide conservative cover for the liberal writers at the Times by making everything they write sound reasonable. He knows it, and he knows he’s stuck, no conservative publication will take him on, so he keeps doing his job, while checking his mail for those cocktail party invites and looking east to Martha’s Vineyard.
You paint Brooks as a self serving traitor to American ideal and the public. Harsh sentiment.
I don’t disagree. I am just marveling how anyone doesn’t think the same of ANY Swamp dweller: it is why they are there. Here in fly over country, we are waking up to the fact that the ‘deep state’ swamp despises us, and cares little for our survival, let alone well being.
I wonder why that is? I don’t think he would’ve won anyway, too much baggage and too little appeal to mainline conservatives. But I do wonder how someone who was so wrongly attacked by the media be so eager to get back into their good graces.
It baffled me with McCain, and it baffles me no less with Romney. Battered lover syndrome, I guess.
As to why the Left wants to make this into Europe, I can only suppose it fits the urban lifestyle they live in better than a system which aspires to maximum freedom rather than maximum safety.
Rush Limbaugh has long said, you can tell what the democrats are up to by watching what they are accusing the republicans of doing. They always telegraph their moves this way. This example illustrates this perfectly.
…but oddly, when you try to pin them down to exactly what is the “overwhelming” evidence they are referring to, they start equivocating, making false statements, misrepresenting law and history, and proving that only their hate, their bias, and their absorption of “resistance” cant is “overwhelming.”
Last week a pal I was out with insisted there was quid pro quo. I asked if there was something I could read to clearly prove it. He said “the constitution.” When I asked (again) if there was an article or something he could send with clear proof he said sure. I haven’t received anything yet.
It was clear to me at a recent George Packer reading event with hundreds in attendance, that some people seem to love hating our president. When the author mentioned how we “must impeach” a strange sense of joy (or schadenfreude) seemed to wash over the audience in the form of gleeful clapping and wide smiles.
When I spoke with my friend after the reading, I mentioned that people there seemed to enjoy hating Trump. I was told that impeachment would be “very unfortunate” and that no one was “happy” about it. Interestingly, later that night on the news I heard a democratic senator or congressperson say how this impeachment process is “unfortunate” and “sad.”
And it’s the Republicans who accused of making dog whistles lately.
If Republicans are whistling, perhaps it’s because we’re watching a dog and pony show.
Like Brooks, I “know people” too. People who are sick of being told killing the unborn or very recently born is moral. Being told only pansexuality is moral. That using paper straws is moral. That black clad masked thugs are moral. That anything intersectional is moral and anything that deviates from it is immoral.
These are people who see their loved ones and neighbors doing better financially. They see people working and some improvement in foreign policy. And they see a big wacky bully take on the many little bullies who have attempted to cancel anyone they don’t agree with, whether online or in-person.
This impeachment process for those who voted for the president or almost voted for him is only solidifying a Trump win in 2020.
Brooks is right…impeachment is a distraction. And those who are ready after 2+ years to see our leaders work and work together are ready to move on. Is the resistance? I doubt it. It’s just too fun to clutch pearls in this strange new false church.
Another excellent comment Mrs. Q.
Great post, Jack. Should be in your published collection of greatest hits that should be required reading for high school kids wanting to learn how to write a well reasoned essay.
I can’t seem to find the comment about EA commentariate being right leaning from a new contributor. Jack replied with the alphabet soup of impeachment tactics beginning at inauguation.
I wanted to ask that person why would he.,she, they, it arrive at such a conclusion. The progressive left believes anyone right of center is predominately white, male, neo-Nazi, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamaphobic and a general oppressor of all things not like them. I have not seen very many here if at all.
Now if that commenter means that leaning right is because the blog commenters believe that the individuals should be held accountable for their behavior but should also be entitled to reap and keep the rewards earned through initiative, innovativeness persistance, and a willingness to risk total failure without being forced to unfairly share such benefits with the less willing or capable, that may be true. It may also be true that many here cringe when they hear Trump’s syntax. Probably many if not most would have voted for anyone other than Trump except for Clinton and some other whacko leftists. What they do expect is fair play. For many, the institution that is the presidency is something that must be protected from partisan shenanigans. It does not take a far right wing partisan to believe that there are groups in this country bent on maintaining the right to control behavior. These groups form the Axis of the Unethical (AUE). Those of us that see the AUE as an existential threat to the Republic are vocal antagonists not some right wing fringe group.
The American people made a choice between 2 people for president in 2016. On inauguration day thousands filled the streets of DC protesting the winner. Many even engaged in vandalism. The media focused on Trump’s claim of being the biggest turnout while ignoring the violent protests. We heard time and again that if the president exercised any Constitutionally granted powers it would be evidence of an impeachable offense. Some of us know this is the big lie but so many Americans are woefully ignorant of what is in the Constitution the left wing demagogues easily persuade their sheep through confirmation bias. The rest us call out the mendacious polemics.
People that read carefully what the commentariate posts they will find that the writers are mix of diverse ethnicities, religious and sexual orientations.
For all those that want government to provide for you be aware that you are giving over control of your life to people that make rules that exempt them from that which will affect you.
Only those the government sees as capable will get free college. Those not meeting some byzantine matrix of skill and ethnosexual demographics will be assigned seats in the free colleges ant the government will determine your social occupation specialty ( SOS) based on your standardized test scores. The government will allocate seats in colleges based on the government’s percieved demand for such occupations. Don’t believe me ask an Asian or European student why they did not get accepted in the University of their home country. Those not being chosen by government bureaucrats to get the free education will be relegated to lower positions on the social ladder. Upward mobility will depend on who you know not what you are capable of achieving.
For those that want Medicare for all. What will you do if the government takes over all health care and all your insurance alternatives are eliminated by law if the government decides it no longer wants to pay for the expensive treatments or long term care for your son, daughter, parent or yourself. Will this become a defacto DNR ? When the government controls the entire output it will decide who is worthy. The current method allows Americans to exercise independent judgement in making this choice. Medicare for all takes is not something the government provides it is a choice they take away.
Be careful what you wish for. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
To be truthful — and I think that arriving at statements of truth and statements made by holding to truthful principles — I think one has to start with the statements that on this blog there cannot be said to be any true rightists, not in any meaningful sense of the word. I say this because a *true* right-leaning person would be able to define, in clear rational terms, the reasons for the defense of ‘whites & whiteness’; why the category of ‘male’ and ‘the masculine’ can be and must be defined through language of distinction from the ‘female’ and from ‘femininity’; why there are many good reasons to notice and develop discourse that defines the ‘xeno’ (stranger, foreigner) and also defines why it is wise to create and hold to distinctions (which may involve aversion and setting strong limits); why homosexuality should not be ‘encouraged’ and should not be marketed in ways similar to consumer products or perhaps like travel packages on a cruise ship; and then why Islam as a religion should be kept out of Western cities, states and Western culture generally.
I must point out — it is my duty as someone who values intellect and intellectual processes and I do it not to be a bother nor to offend people — that this is not a ‘right-leaning’ nor (as I often say) even a conservative blog or blog-environment. It is far more accurate to describe the blog and almost everyone who contributes here (I am the exception in fact) as *right of center progressives*. If Jack and the majority of the contributors could be described as ‘conservative’ it is mainly in that they adhere to points-of-law. In all other categories, and it is stated time and time again, the contributors here are
1) in no sense of the word ‘pro-white’ nor ‘pro-European’ (as in European descended). They are incapable to making such definitions. The reason why is interesting, and must be understood.
2) no one who writes on this blog could define why the category of ‘male’ is a crucial category and why it must be understood and defended. In this sense they have come wholly under the influence of progressive categories and also feminist ideology. 2a) their definition of woman and women (the female and femininity) has been nearly totally populated by feminist value-definitions. They are in fact feminists. Jack is a feminist and though the forum is open to all, he *sets the tone* as it were. This is not a complaint on my part: it is a statement of fact, of clear-seeing.
3) no one here, that I am aware, has ever stated any definitions that define a) an original stock of America. That is, an original people. None have done that in the way the Founders did do it. The creation of a Nation and a political system ‘for ourselves and our children’: for people like us. Therefore, it is clear and it must be stated clearly that they operate under a different vision. And that vision is a novel one that developed during and after WWll. That New Americanism was and still is a creation significantly influenced by *propaganda offices* and the intelligence agencies that were heavily involved in the molding of culture. This dovetails with general Sixties concerns. Many of you are of the generation that lived in that time. You have absorbed those categorical imperatives. This is simply a statement of fact. The purpose is only to *see clearly* and understand aright.
For this reason, for nearly all of you, there is no ‘stranger’, no foreigner, but then this also means there is no ‘people’: you have no people and you are not *a people*. Your definition of peoplehood is abstract. And that is where the notion of the ‘propositional nation’ enters in.
4) you are all pro-homosexual with the possible exception, if only to a small degree, of Steve in NJ. Jack is thoroughly pro-homosexual and also *sets the tone*. In this as well — and please permit me to say it in this kind of raw way — you have obviously, clearly and definitely come under the influence of ultra-progressivism which engineered this sea-change in culture. You could not even make a basic argument that could be construed, or become the basis of, a non-tolerant position in respect to *homosexual culture* and the *homsexualization of American culture*. For this reason you could not take, nor do you have, any possible position against America’s influence, through an array of technics, of the world spread of homosexuality: the Globo-Homo Culture as it is called. That term jangles in your ears. If is offensive nearly. What this means, in truth, is that you are all pro-homosexual. Again, I am sorry in a way to put it in direct terms but this is fair.
Now, this is the strangest part, and perhaps the hardest part: you are not Christian. There are some here who say they are Christian but who, when you read what they write, you see that they are neo-Christian or Modified Christians. Or De-structured Post-Christians. Therefore, you have no possible way to understand the opposition and the conflict — which is real and can be logically expounded — between Christianity and Judaism, and for this reason you have no defense against a whole array of ‘relativistic doctrines’. You do not know what a ‘Jew’ is because you have no idea what a Christian is. They are (nearly) meaningless and sometimes interchangeable terms.
You are therefore relativists, not of the first order, but of a secondary and at times tertiary order. Christianity has next to no meaning for you (I am speaking in a general sense and to a plurality but moreover to the ‘Walmart American Mind’: a mind incapable of and not interested in defining distinction). Well, because this is so of course you could have no particular and defined position about Islam nor one *against* Islam. Any religion would in your eyes become subsumed under the rubric of ‘Americanism’. Therefore, in one degree or another you support the Islamicization of the West (though in America, today, this is not felt much. In Europe though it is).
What I have come to understand, and largely as a result of my participation here with people — men mostly — who are astoundingly hard-headed and impenetrable, is the degree to which you yourselves have stepped into sheer progressive territories. You define progressivism in all the important areas. You do not define ‘social conservatism’ nor the ideologies that must exist to define it. I point this out, again as I say, not to be a bother but because this is what has resulted from my studies.
[I did not include a comment about ‘neo-Nazi’ because it requires a whole paragraph. As I have said before, dozens of times, an entire definition of the *evil Nazi* was created by war departments in the West. All war-propaganda is deliberately tendentious and slanted. The term ‘Nazi’ is totaly inflected with those tendencies and that slant. Thus the term has to be carefully, and painstakingly, dismantled in order to understand who uses it, and why. Because this is a very complex topic, with huge implications that have to do with how power-centers manipulate our perception, this dismantling must take place. But no one has the time and the desire to do it. And that is why these sorts of terms *stand*: there is no one to take them apart.]
The commenter who said you were ‘rightist’ is likely to be found to be (if they had to actually write out their views and ideas) just one more unmoored person who has no solid grasp of what *identity* is and must be. Because the general doctrine that you seem to support is one that moves a person away from *identity* in all meaningful categories. You undermine it therefore. But what you use to subsume any meaningful identity, and thus ideologically defined value, is a vague Americanism upheld by equally vague and amorphic patriotic sentiments. Not ideas, sentiments. And especially through the sentimental aspect you are aligned and associated with those hyper-sentimentalists, those romantic sentimentalists, who are now demonstrating their power in the culture.
You do, of course, propose a counter-response. I mean that it is clear to me that I must contrive a response to all that you say and all that you ‘believe in’. I must become a counter-current to (nearly) everything that you *are*.
And that explains my dissidence and my opposition. It is rational and ordered though, and I can explain it and defend it anytime/anywhere/to anyone.
When I said most are not (short form) bigots I was of course not including you.
You are a transplant to America and cannot comprehend what a society that permits wide ranging perspectives on social matters. In my humble opinion, you would prefer societies self segregate by race and ancestral culture but you yourself choose to live in a society that permits differences. That is not logical. Every society chooses to create its own culture and you believe such a culture should protect that culture from those who would dilute that which gives it strength yet you offer much in the form of rhetoric to tell us what is wrong with our culture because it fails to embrace your ideas in totality. So, logically we must reject your ideas.
You say we are, sans one, pro-homosexual. To me you see the world as black and white, your way or the wrong way Americans see the the world as I can do or be as I choose and the government can’t force me to adopt any line of thinking. Why should I care about the sexuality of another? Should I care because a gay many might come on to me? If that is the case shouldn’t all women be anti-male because of hetero sexuality. What science do you base the idea that homosexuals should be changed or removed from society or are you making such presentments from some religious text?
Yes American culture is amorphous, but it does have values. The one most clearly under attack right now is CHOICE. That value is embodied in the words Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. The most generous definition of right and left is that the above words mean the same thing except the Left wants to use the collective power of government to force the choice of the majority on the minority. The Right is simply far less aggressive in the use of coercive power by government.
Americans often fail to realize how important choice, as a truly American value, is. Without choice we cannot claim to be free. There is no nation on this planet that provides its citizens more choice.
The beauty of choice allows people like me to tolerate views I find abhorent because I am not forced to abide by them and it gives those that find America and its amorphous values an anethema to them the opportunity to leave.
So, I must be a ‘long-form bigot’? 🙂
I only ask that you notice your use of that peculiar, and loaded, term. I rather think that I am structured by values the sense of which escapes you.
But allow me a few comments:
As always — I always hope this comes through clearly — thank you for your measured, reasoned response. That is what we are supposed to do here and unfortunately many do not engage.
There are two aspects to ‘me’. One is of course that I became a citizen and may have brought some lack of understanding of America or what natives know. believe and understand. But the second element, is that I am trying to be a researcher of American ideas, and the various factions within America. I expose myself to them and then ‘translate’ them back to Americans.
I think I do understand ‘the wide range of perspectives’ existent and permitted. In regard to that I try to bring out the fact — as I understand it — of a divided and dividing America. That is, not a united and uniting America.
I cannot be said to have a ‘preference’ because my ideas and my grasp of things is theoretical (mostly but not absolutely). If I bring forward strong contradicting ideas — combative ideas and views — it is to fairly bring these ideas, and the people who hold them, into the general conversation. Five years ago now, though I was doing it then, it was all new to many who read and write here. Now however a whole range of different ideas — possible ways to look at things — have become *part of the conversation*.
I live where I live for numerous reasons and they are not related to my political, cultural or religious ideas. It just turned out that way. But I would also mention that one reason I have a somewhat alarmist tone on certain topics is because I observe what a ‘mongrel’ culture looks like. If you can avoid it, do not let happen to your culture what has happened in these Latin American cultures. Do not let your country become *overrun* with Mexicans and Meso-Americans. And try to understand why. It is not hard to grasp. In many ways *it stares you in the face*.
Oh there is logic there, but disagreement over its terms and necessities.
You are not taking into consideration that cultures, in certain circumstances, are not so much ‘creatively created’ as occurring because of random, chaotic events. What has made American culture, in the days when it got going, radically different from any other culture of that time and even *of all time* was the intentional aspect. A ground and a platform was built and it was built on rational foundations. If you examine this intentionality, and if you compare it to other national origins, you will notice this supreme and telling difference.
If I recommend anything, what I especially recommend is understanding this, and protecting it and yourself from what is assaulting it. What is requires now is not slight awakening of *identity* but taking the identity-question to its farthest limits.
I respectfully suggest that *you* are very uncertain about what has given *you* strength, and what can uphold and protect it. You refer to a *failing strength* not an increasing strength, and that in a time of tremendous moral, ethical, civil and social decline and dissolution. I suggest that a conversation take place where ‘what makes strong’ is brought out in fullness. *You* resist that conversation tooth & claw. Or, to be more accurate, you oppose it with *dynamic silence*.
Well yes, I notice that you are pro-homosexual. But what that means is as I say: you have no structure through which it could be opposed, nor do you seem aware of the good reasons for opposing it. I have said that homosexuality will always be with us, and also that I am talking about not advertising and *selling* it. I think that my language, careful though it is, does not communicate to you my concerns. I say something, you hear something different.
You fail to note the enterprise of ‘social engineering’ and the way that American culture has been influenced and molded. Because this escapes you, you will also fail to understand what the creation of a Globo-Homo Culture means — what its ramifications are. And therefore you cannot oppose it. In a certain sense you are wrong: government can, through its education-systems, very definitely influence and steer ‘how people think’. And that is why I refer often to a Maoist culture-engineering culture.
Why should you care about anything? Why have cares? Or put another way How could you justify having cares? Why have values? Or put another way What right do you have to define and defend a value, any value?
Yours is an ‘entry-level question’. You ask it because you have not bothered and maybe won’t bother to consider the ramifications of that question and dozens and hundreds of other questions. Note: this is all that I do: try to clarify and expand on the questions.
Respectfully, this seems like superficial analysis. You are seeing things within their more-or-less established frameworks. But the issues that are at play, today, are far more serious and wide-reaching. They transcend left and right in many ways. You say that it depends on ‘choice’ (and the curttailing of choice I take you to mean) and I propose that it more has to do with defined values. And I further suggest that ‘values’ are not determined by ‘choice’ but by the wise. Basically, it comes down to that: time-honored values & traditions. Those things that are the base of a strong, dynamic, creative culture.
Losing the value-structure, abandoning it or having or ripped or dissolved away, such a culture careens into chaos. But recovery of values is not done through choice or election or whimsy. Perhaps I differ from you in this. I think values have essentially ben pre-determined *metaphysically*. It is up to us to discern them and then to make a conscious choice to adapt ourself to them.
I see things differently, I’ll try to explain. I do not think we really have such a wide gamut of choice in respect to the essential things. The real issue is if we will or if we won’t choose to follow what we define, idealistically, as a value. Since following one’s values, and even having values, is never an easy road, this implies hard work and will-power.
We do, technically, have the power to refuse, and of course we often do. So if there is choice I might suggest that it is the choice to choose many different paths and routes, but not necessarily the *right* one or the *best* one. If I understand things correctly, vis-a-vis the Founders, their intellectual power resulted in making legal and constitutional choices for all those who participated or were born in the system. In this sense their ideas and their idealisms were *dicatarial*: not a matter of choice as you seem to use the term. I think you are mixing license with your notion of choice.
I tend to side with those who see the source of problems as arising out of moral and ethical decline. And therefore the question: What is the proper choice to face these conditions? comes to the fore.
Do you not choose to be a bigot? Does anyone jail you for your beliefs.?
What you describe is a modern Eurocentric view of the world. A world of one view. A world of homogeneity of thought. A world of people who believe they have some intellectual superior view of the human condition.
You never seek to understand you only tell us what we are incapable of understaing. Do you comment to reinforce your grandiose feelings of intelkectual superiority or do you really believe you are a deity?
“You are a transplant to America and cannot comprehend what a society that permits wide ranging perspectives on social matters.”
Let me revise my earlier comment. “You are a transplant to America and choose not to comprehend what a society that permits wide ranging perspectives on social matters instead your ideas about culture are mere ethereal images of what you believe the culture should be.”
Evidence suggests that our nation and its culture made it the strongest in the world. What is undermining that strength are people that believe that they own a culture. Steel has strength because it is an alloy, or in your parlance, a “mongrel” metal. The strength of America is BECAUSE it is a “mongrel” nation not in spite of it. The belief that cultures must remain separate and distinct prevents intellectual development. Only those that believe they are superior to others believe that all others add negative values to the mix.
You said ”
. . . in a time of tremendous moral, ethical, civil and social decline and dissolution. I suggest that a conversation take place where ‘what makes strong’ is brought out in fullness. *You* resist that conversation tooth & claw. Or, to be more accurate, you oppose it with *dynamic silence*. ”
Let’s take the first part of that thought. You reference what makes us strong but fail to elaborate on what you mean. I in fact did say what I believe to be true. The latter part is simply frontier gibberish. Dynamic means “changing” and silence is just that silence.
You went on with, “You fail to note the enterprise of ‘social engineering’ and the way that American culture has been influenced and molded. Because this escapes you, you will also fail to understand what the creation of a Globo-Homo Culture means — what its ramifications are. And therefore you cannot oppose it. In a certain sense you are wrong: government can, through its education-systems, very definitely influence and steer ‘how people think’. And that is why I refer often to a Maoist culture-engineering culture”
Are you F’n kidding me. Must I state that there is social engineering going on in every sentence so that you understand I am fully aware of it. You know those things, to use your words “time-honored values & traditions. Those things that are the base of a strong, dynamic, creative culture” is social engineering by definition. How can I fail to understand what the creation of the Globo-Homo culture and its ramifications. You allude to these ideas but never proffer what it is and why it is a threat. All you do is poo-poo everyone saying they are unable to fully comprehend the vagaries of the universe because they are blinding themselves to their tired time honored traditions and values.
You stated: “I notice that you are pro-homosexual. But what that means is as I say: you have no structure through which it could be opposed, nor do you seem aware of the good reasons for opposing it. I have said that homosexuality will always be with us, and also that I am talking about not advertising and *selling* it. I think that my language, careful though it is, does not communicate to you my concerns. I say something, you hear something different.”
Why must I be against something you oppose. Go on record and tell this commentariat why you are so affected by someone else’s sexual preference. Is it because some good looking gay guy snubbed you?
My question is as ludicrous as some of your pontifications on what and how I think.
This is where my statement about black and white thinking. You claim to be careful in language but used the prefix pro which means that I am an advocate for something. I neither advocate for anyone’s sexuality preferred or otherwise any more than I advocate for whether someone desires anything else for that matter. You fail to accept that if one does not adopt your ideas about something you reject they are advocates for that something. Let me be clear homosexuality is not something for me but it could be for thee. Your beliefs on this topic require that you conceptualize homosexuality as a CHOICE and not something in their biological makeup. When you can prove that it is a choice I might entertain ideas on what makes it bad; you better have some damn good reasons though which up to now have been woefully absent. Until then, I will accept the scientific literature that suggests biological origins. Here is why I am agnostic on this matter. First, I don’t care what others do if it has no effect on me. Second, if we decide that we can legislate choices based on what the “wise”, who influence the majority, believes to be “best” what stops them from dictating my choices? That is my decision structure. If something changes so will it.
I stated: “Yes American culture is amorphous, but it does have values. The one most clearly under attack right now is CHOICE. That value is embodied in the words Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. The most generous definition of right and left is that the above words mean the same thing except the Left wants to use the collective power of government to force the choice of the majority on the minority. The Right is simply far less aggressive in the use of coercive power by government.
To which you replied: “Respectfully, this seems like superficial analysis. You are seeing things within their more-or-less established frameworks. But the issues that are at play, today, are far more serious and wide-reaching. They transcend left and right in many ways. You say that it depends on ‘choice’ (and the curttailing of choice I take you to mean) and I propose that it more has to do with defined values. And I further suggest that ‘values’ are not determined by ‘choice’ but by the wise. Basically, it comes down to that: time-honored values & traditions. Those things that are the base of a strong, dynamic, creative culture.”
Once again you begin with a put down, “superficial analysis”. You say choice is a fiction because we are molded by “frameworks”. Of course we are all molded by frameworks of understanding that does not mean that choice is irrelevant. Every thing we do, every idea we embrace or reject, every purchase we make and every tradition and value comes from the choices we make. The wise men of which you speak is “everyman”. Every person chooses what they will accept as a value based on their own understanding of the world. There is no one universal “Truth” about what is good and valuable to which everyone must adhere. Some things you take some things on faith until it becomes proven wrong. Traditions and values emanate from an understanding of what works to advance the group as a whole. If they do not advance the group they are not integrated into the culture. Traditions and values require individual choice. Many cultures developed religions to help them grow socially. Religion in my estimation was created to help groups sort out intractable issues of self interest. Religion is the glue that holds groups together. It was when the wise men who made the choice to exploit the power of traditions and values for their own benefit did these religions wind up locked in existential battles. It was the everyman that ultimately chose to do something differently.
Sure, we often delegate some of those tasks to those we believe are better able to “Think” and resolve issues but that does not relieve the person of the choice. The choice to acquiesce to the majority often leads to traditions that are antithetical to the group as a whole. You see, majorities are inherently dangerous when we allow a few “wise” to make all the decisions. We choose our president in a manner that tempers the potential for mob rule. Perhaps at one time some wise men figured out how to explain the unexplainable to the masses which elevated them among their peers and made them influencers but they were still the same and maintained power not by attacking the masses but by making examples of the few. Power hungry leaders who can instill fear into the individual collectively influence the group. It is when the individual realizes the power to effect change through personal choice is when those frameworks to which you speak become meaningless.
I do not see moral decline as that which threatens the American culture. Our everyman values of life, freedom of choice (read Milton Friedman’s book Free to Choose), fair play, family, work and reward are not at in decline. Both the right and the Left are in relative agreement. The difference between the two is who makes the choices which underlies all decision making; the individual or the government. I stand by my
Human sexuality is not a value but acceptance of difference is. I can accept people will have different views than me. No one can convince me that what someone does in their bedroom with their partners affects me or society one bit unless I feel uneasy about my own sexuality. And that inability to convince me that it does affect me is not proof that I advocate for it. I cannot accept that I must alter my choices that have not one iota of effect on another because some power seeking person denies me might right to choose my own traditions and beliefs. You identify a globo homo
You ended that paragraph with, “Basically, it comes down to that: time-honored values & traditions. Those things that are the base of a strong, dynamic, creative culture.” Time honored values and traditions are not perfect and are subject to change which is the only way to have a strong dynamic creative culture.
You said , “If I understand things correctly, vis-a-vis the Founders, their intellectual power resulted in making legal and constitutional choices for all those who participated or were born in the system.”
Your understanding is incorrect. The Constitution does not make legal and constitutional choices for those born into the system. Nothing in the Constitution makes us subjects of the government. We can leave or stay the choice is ours but if we stay we accept the responsibilities and abide by its laws. The Constitution is a document that limits powers of government. Look at the Bill of Rights, where will you find a command that the people must do X? Nowhere. The articles limit the powers of each branch. The branches that have the power to make and execute laws are made of the people’s choices. The judiciary is appointed to promote fairness. The Constitution was drawn up by a select group of men who had the wisdom to know that trying to force the population to accept a ruling authority that it (the populace) could not reject through individual choice would never get ratified. The first Constitution or Articles of Confederation was rejected by the states.
You see the individual creates the frameworks by their individual choices through which social decisions are made. We can choose to accept the frameworks that get created or we can blow them to hell.
Good Morning. I responded to your post just below. (In case, like myself, you rely on the ‘bell’ notification).
Every once in awhile I state — and restate — my purpose. My purpose is to understand how we got into this situation: the cultural situation we are facing in the present. I am not an activist, though I know of activists and read activist’s writing, and my approach is more (perhaps) sociological and philosophical. I am interested in the *causal chains* that have produced the conditions of the present, more specifically in regard to America which is my object of study. I frequently say something which, I have learned, does not make me very appreciated. It is that *you* — you who critique the progressive left and fear what they are doing — are intimately connected with them because you are essentially operating within the same framework of ideology and predicates. My object, with this in view, has become to understand how this came to be and why you (and why we) have become convinced and why we agree to think in these (progressive and even radical) terms. I do understand that what I do — my analytical approach — is annoying to some. In fact to many. And what I get is ‘silence’. “I won’t talk to you”. (And that is where the term ‘dynamic silence’ comes from.)
But I have to go on, you see. At this point I cannot stop. I don’t think I can turn around either.
So, I will not be able to respond to all of what you wrote. It is pretty clear that we are not ‘reading the same material’, which is to say that our basic, orienting predicates are quite dissimilar. But I do have to say what should be obvious: Milton Friedman is no friend of mine and not one I admire or emulate. But I respect that he is for you, and I also respect that you seem to be, at the most essential point, a Libertarian. I nearly-completely reject Libertarianism as a kind of sham. I have not bothered (yet) to write out all the reasons why I think this and what I have come to understand is perhaps a bit sketchy.
But please understand that if I say this to you — if I disagree with you or regard any part of your analysis as ‘superficial’ (or wrongheaded, or destructive, or any other descriptive term) it is not because I am trying to ‘put you down’. That is absurd! Unfortunately, some people interpret profound disagreement or even a simply critical statement about some aspect of their ideas as an insult. Ultimately, this is their problem not mine.
If I am ‘putting down’ anything and anyone then let me make this more clear: I am critiquing and attempting to countermand and put in reverse an entire movement that has taken place in culture. Those who have become tuned in to the ideas of the Dissident Right understand that in significant ways we are involved in a project of countering Liberalism. For example if I were to speak, to the degree that I can and to the degree that it is fair for me to do so, from a Catholic perspective, I must say that I am anti-liberal in the sense of anti-modernist. But please do not think that I am simply reacting reflexively and without having thought things through — like a religious automaton. No. In order to grasp (in this case) the religious Catholic perspective one has to understand the ideas on which it is built. But let’s leave that to the side since, I gather, you have no relationship to such things and no interest in them.
What I most notice — and here I am speaking of the denizens of this Blog where I have spent over 5 years (and thus I have a right to have an opinion and to state it) — is simply that everyone who writes here is essentially a progressive-radical. Note that I put emphasis on essentially. This means at an essential point or at the base. This is what I have learned mostly here. The degree to which *you* have been influenced by progressive ideals. But I have also to state this from the other side: you are not conservatives! Not in any way nor by any stretch. You definitely are not (what are known as) traditionalists, and you have next-to-no philosophical structuring in the idea-base upon which Conservatism (modern conservatism) had been built.
This is not a ‘put down’! It is an attempt to state a fact. And in relation to this fact — then, at that point, as a result — other statements can be made. And it is those statements that interest me!
So, with that said — and I hope you have understood me yet I fear you have not (and I must prepare myself that you have not) — I choose as my *strategy* or as a way to communicate to let you explain yourself; to let you demonstrate to yourself and to anyone reading (anything we write here is for a general consumption and we are not only communicating with the one person we respond to) see the *elements* and the *core predicates* upon which your style of thinking and perceiving — which has a universal element and foundation — is based. That is all really. Just to *expose to the light of day* what I think is revealing. And this fits in with my overall project of understanding *why people think what they think* and how their ideas take on a metaphysical dimension (how their framework explains their largest sense of connection — literally — to a cosmic structure).
If we were to go further in conversation I am pretty sure that we would encounter one obstacle after the other until our communication broke down. But, there is advantage (and really there is some *fun*) in discovering and putting out there the reason(s) why we disagree. In my value-system, in my perceptual system, and in my metaphysics, I place angelic and divine intelligence (which I certainly believe in) above ‘everyman’. I can understand how the literary form of the ‘everyman’ had been used, from Medieval times up to the days of Homer Simpson, and I can also understand the ideological American notion of the ‘everyman’ as being the one who defines values through his and her ‘choices’ (in the sense that you use the term *choice*), and yet I vehemently oppose locating the decisive axis in this man, this person, and in this individual. But you will be able to see by my stating this how deeply involved I am in older or former metaphysical categories. Do with that knowledge what you will.
The ‘wise’, for me, are the Wisemen of Old, but I find those wise ones in all traditions and not just in Catholic or Christian traditions, or within Greek paganism. I am referring of course to the *foundations of values* and the foundations upon which we have founded our values. True, I am Eurocentric and, by definition, Catholic in orientation.
It is not the Radical Progressives, the Gender-Benders, the Young Upstarts, nor the heady American ‘exceptionalists’ who define values. Values of the sort I value are defined through processes of revelation and when the inner constellation of man aligns with the outer constellation, which is to say Logos of the Metaphysical (eternal) Order.
However, I accept that you must, if I do understand your views, take issue with my own *core predicates*. And that is fine. But I only want to point out that the ideas that you have are in many senses similar to and linked to those of Left Progressives. And I want to further point out — because it is fair to do so — that the general progressivism I notice on this Blog is of the same class: that is, it sprang from the same tree.
That’s all. That is all I want to point out. Though it is true that as I go forward in defining my predicate base I must confront, if only internally, the structure that informs you-plural and I certainly know about because I share it, you will at least understand what I am doing and I hope why. And if you want to understand better the counter-liberal notions of the Dissident Right (though it is definitely not a monolith) you could choose to better understand *our* perspectives.
Finally, thank you for taking the time to write out your ideas. I hope that I have responded fairly and that, perhaps, you better understand *where I am coming from*.