Ross Douthat At The NY Times: ‘Why The Right Fights’

Full piece here.

Have conservatives lost-out to successive waves of liberalism in the past century, waves which have gradually entrenched enough interests in the government and built-up enough public sentiment to a point where the inertia is just too great to resist a larger State?

Douthat argues this to a rather large audience, or at least tries to explain the current partisan divide as he sees it:

‘So what you’re seeing motivating the House Intransigents today, what’s driving their willingness to engage in probably-pointless brinksmanship, is not just anger at a specific Democratic administration, or opposition to a specific program, or disappointment over a single electoral defeat. Rather, it’s a revolt against the long term pattern I’ve just described: Against what these conservatives, and many on the right, see as forty years of failure, in which first Reagan and then Gingrich and now the Tea Party wave have all failed to deliver on the promise of an actual right-wing answer to the big left-wing victories of the 1930s and 1960s — and now, with Obamacare, of Obama’s first two years as well.’

Where do you draw the line at equality of opportunity, and how is that line shifting during an especially strong period of egalitarianism and partisanship?

Also On This Site:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

The NY Times op-ed writer and a practicing Catholic? William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New PartyRoss Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’

Don’t get Borked, at least if you’re openly religious and aiming for higher office:  Bork had his own view of the 1960′s: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.  He has a big vision with some holes in it, but it’s one that embraces change boldly.

Once you take apart the old structure, you have to criticize the meritocracy you’ve helped create: David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on ConservatismCharles Murray At The New Criterion: ‘Belmont & Fishtown’

Freedom Of Speech? Absolutely-From SteynOnline: ‘Lars Hedegaard, Defender Of Freedom’

Full piece here.

A man of the right, Steyn has been darkly predicting the end of Europe as we know it, locked as it is, he argues, into demographic decline and painting itself into the corner of multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism is tough to define, but for Steyn’s analysis, perhaps we could think of it as a melange of moral relativism, Statist top-down rationalism and its remnants, as well as a dominant liberal ideology of conformity.  Some people are viewed as victims before they even arrive, to be pitied and included into civil society mainly through questionable lawmaking by way of political activism.

More broadly, it can lead to the kind of technocratic governance which appears currently unable to acknowledge many cultural, economic, and demographic problems in Europe.  Muslim immigration, multiculturalists, and free speech are the main players in the Hedegaard case.

Europe wanted cheap labor and they got it with Muslims.  A few generations onward, as Europe’s Muslim populations quietly grow in cities such as Malmo, London, and Brussels, there are broader consequences. For Steyn, Muslims are naturally following an Islam at odds with much of European culture, an Islam which doesn’t recognize separation of Mosque and State, and will occasionally kill people who insult the prophet.  Point this out, or the folly of having Sharia law in shadow courts operating alongside at least 800 years of English jurisprudence, and someone may well try and kill you.  The sensitivities of the marginalized Muslim and the sensitivities of the multicultural Leftist consensus dovetail nicely.

***To be fair, I’d add and Steyn might agree, that many European Muslims are naturally responding to the incentives that European societies have created for them, including multicultural policies which blame Europe or America first.  Immigration isn’t easy, with or without Islam.  They are often viewed with suspicion and distrust.  It’s tougher to get a job in Europe, and it’s tough to be accepted where racial and national identity are more closely aligned.  Steyn may not agree, and I may, that the moral absolutism of Islam does not need to be met with the absolutism of some free-speech advocates each and every time, but it ought to be supported more than it is now.

Here’s Steyn on what’s become an unholy alliance:

“Why then are the Euroleft prostrate before Islam?  Simple arithmetic, says Lars:  “They are now increasingly dependent on the Muslim vote, which they hope will guarantee them a perpetual foothold at least in the major population centers.”

Rolled under this political alliance is where Lars Hedegaard found himself, as founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society.   He’s had to bear court costs to defend himself from charges of racism.

Here he is in his own words describing what he thinks are the failures of multicultural policies (addition: and why Islam is different):


Now, he’s become the target of actual violence and an assassination attempt.  His tale here:

“The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head. Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed.’

Is he right about everything?  Probably not.  But few people are willing to endure the financial damage of political activism, legal persecution, and violence and threats of violence, just to speak up and join public discourse.  Hedegaard joins a growing list, in fact.  He’s taking his life into his own hands just to do so, and that’s where the line should be drawn.

European free-speech advocates can easily find themselves operating in a vacuum, working against public opinion, often alone and outnumbered.  It’d be nice to think even the establishment would come to his aid with public support against, you know, attempted murder.   Sadly, this is unlikely at the moment, as it takes both personal courage and the political will to butt heads against the dominant ideology and worldview of many European institutions.  The Eurocracy drifts forward, flaws and all.

Addition:  Should Hedegaard be reading, I hope he’s faring well, and that after reading his work, I’ve found him very reasonable.

And if you think it can’t happen over here:   Mark Steyn discusses complaints brought against Macleans, Canada’s largest publication, by the President of the Canadian Islamic Congress (who sent three representatives) to TVOntario.   They were upset at the pieces Steyn had published there.  The complaints went through the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for alleged “Islamophobia” and “promoting hate:”

The connection here is what happens in Canadian society beneath the umbrella of more Left liberal ideas:

Libertarians stand firm on this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant


***A friend asks me to note that the current progressive, Obama administration shares many of the same hallmarks as the EuroLeft Steyn describes:  More malleable on free speech, vaguely tolerant of American nationalism, conveniently religious but more animated by Enlightenment rationalism and Statism.  Political activism for social justice is a legitimate path to power and to reward minority groups (remember getting Muslims to NASA). No wonder the Europeans love Obama, he’s so familiar.

The simplest and plainest example:  It takes a special kind of ideological commitment to call the Ft. Hood shooting an example of ‘workplace violence.’

Related On This Site: Tariq Ramadan speaks both multiculturalese and the language of Muslim Brotherhood, and ironically it’s the 68er and socialist who stands for neither religious belief nor multiculturalism confronts him

Repost-From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’

When you add it all up, it’s a lot From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…  Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’More From Spiegel Online After The Westergaard Attacks Via A & L Daily: ‘The West Is Choked By Fear’

See Also:  If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie hereVia The A & L Daily-Interview With Christopher Caldwell At Spiegel Online Ayan Hirsi Ali is a Muslim immigrant to Europe, who seems quite populist and anti-Islam…is this a potential track for immigrants if they are integrated better?:  Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote For Tolerance And Inclusion’

Joel Kotkin At New Geography: ‘The Unseen Class War That Could Decide The Presidential Election’

Full piece here.

Kotkin, a demographer, suggests a divide in the upcoming election between a ‘clerisy’ and a ‘yeomanry:’

‘Obama’s core middle-class support, and that of his party, comes from what might be best described as “the clerisy,” a 21st century version of France’s pre-revolution First Estate. This includes an ever-expanding class of minders — lawyers, teachers, university professors, the media and, most particularly, the relatively well paid legions of public sector workers — who inhabit Washington, academia, large non-profits and government centers across the country.’

Well, they’re rent-seekers, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with rent-seeking, but if your paycheck comes from institutions (public and/or private) that depend on the public dime, or you believe in the “common” good as defined by redistributive ideals for our institutions as you toil away in one, shielded from other economic realities, then you’re more likely to vote your interests/ideals.

‘The nature of their work also differentiates the clerisy from the yeomanry. The clerisy labors largely in offices and has no contact with actual production. Many yeomen, particularly in business services, depend on industry for their livelihoods either directly or indirectly. The clerisy’s stultifying, and often job-toxic regulations and “green” agenda may be one reason why people engaged in farming, fishing, forestry, transportation, manufacturing and construction overwhelmingly disapprove of the president’s policies, according to Gallup.’

Either way, Kotkin is likely very familiar with the ‘clerisy’ as he lives and works in California.  Is California a bellwether for the nation?  Are we slowly drifting secular and leftward as a nation, with larger pools of public sentiment for green/redistributive/’clerisy’-type policies? The takers vs. the makers?

Related On This Site:  Look out Omaha…people are coming your way?: …Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’Joel Kotkin At Forbes: ‘Is Perestroika Coming In California?’

Are these the enemies of the future?: Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

From First Principles: Locke, Our Great Founders, and American Political Life

Full article here.

Maybe there’s something in the air, but there seems to be a trend toward re-considering religion’s role in society in many political/philosophical quarters lately.

Perhaps it’s due to:  Islamic extremism?  An excessive secularism? A push back against a long period of excessive individualism? Some other forces at work? 

Here’s a post on a Martha Nussbaum essay I put up a few months back:  Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder

From the article, here’s a quote which has the author, Peter Lawler, discussing two recent books on John Locke:

“Brownson and Murray agree that our framers understood themselves primarily as Lockeans but also that their work was less guided by the individualist’s thought than they believed. Brownson pays them the compliment of having been theoretically radical as thinkers but prudently conservative as statesmen. Murray sees them as sort of Thomistic Lockeans; their understanding of Locke’s modern thought was more compromised by traditional debts than they knew. They built so well because they averted their eyes from the voluntaristic and nihilistic depths of modern thought. Their providential—or we might just say lucky—theoretical confusion or in-betweenness, their lack of theoretical greatness, is the cause of our nation’s practical greatness.

The argument here states that because the founders didn’t fully understand (or follow) Locke’s radical individualism to its logical conclusions, they went deeper than they knew.

There’s a standard dig at the French (French perfectionism and theoretical excesses are the enemy of our good) there at the end as well.

Actually,  this just seems like our democracy functioning as it does:  the right is re-grouping and figuring out how to include religion out of political necessity:

“Our healing American task may be to show that Thomism is the true realism, that it reconciles reason and revelation through a realistic account of the whole human being.”

See Also On This Site:  Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam may be resisting such a trend: From Bloggingheads: Jon Chait Not Convinced By ‘The Grand New Party’

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