Mr. Trump is Right about Monuments

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I watched Donald Trump’s news conference yesterday (August 15, 2017) and agree with most of what he said. The only disagreement I have is that I do not believe that economic growth in itself will improve race relations. However, he is correct that it is hypocritical to take Confederate monuments down and still support monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The Left, big business, and establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell are doing their best to turn people into rootless, homeless machines who work for the technocratic state. If history is erased except for a whitewashed history that supposedly is non-controversial, this helps produce the robot-like, echo-chamber world they desire. I have ancestors who fought on both sides in the War between the States. I am a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans. I find the removal of monuments to Robert E. Lee and others who were involved with the Confederacy to be a travesty, an act of historical vandalism fueled by corrupt “history professors” and other members of the Academic Left, the radical Left in general, and the corporate Right to destroy the heritage of an entire group of people. The sheer hypocrisy of such people is astounding. They ignore the fact that most people in the North supported slavery because it kept blacks from moving into their states. They ignore the racism of Lincoln–even most of the Abolitionists were racists. They ignore the fact that one of their most hated figures, Nathan Bedford Forrest, supported full civil rights for blacks in his old age. They ignore the fact that many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, including those mentioned above, Washington and Jefferson. They ignore the fact that General Ulysses S. Grant owned slaves and refused to release them after the war until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed. Related to that, they ignore the fact that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the Confederate States, not to the other states that remained part of the United States. They pay attention to the Succession Documents of the deep South states, ignoring other motivations for war in the middle South in which states opposed Lincoln’s unjust and illegal invasion of the South. They ignore the brutal war crimes committed by the Union Army, especially but not exclusively under General Sherman. They bring up atrocities in Andersonville yet ignore greater atrocities and a higher death toll in Union POW camps. They ignore the fact that many blacks fought for the South as attested by newspapers covering the war. They ignore the stirring up of the former slaves by corrupt Northern agents during Reconstruction.

Their hypocrisy is bare for all to see, yet the elites–both Democrat and Republican–have power and use that power to suppress dissent and destroy monuments. Organizations such as the SCV and United Daughters of the Confederacy can work to buy up private land on which to put the monuments, but that will not help in places like Baltimore, where the mayor desires not only to remove the monuments in that city, but destroy them. In Durham, North Carolina, a mob destroyed a Confederate monument. These actions are fundamentally evil, and some of the people in Virginia were opposing the removal of the statues and were not part of any white supremacist group. But lumping legitimate groups together with racists such as Nazis is a favorite–if dishonest and unfair–tactic by the Left (and by Mitch McConnell).

Yesterday when I heard Mr. Trump, I felt proud to have him as President of the United States.

Multiple Reasons for Romney’s Loss

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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today (Photo credit: tvnewsbadge)

Mr. Romney lost the 2012 presidential election for multiple reasons, not just one. The rapid secularization of the United States is one reason, in which the 19% of the population that consider themselves secular vote overwhelmingly Democratic. They also populate the media and Hollywood, institutions that have an exaggerated effect on American thoughts and opinions. The same media adoration of Obama as a god continued during this election cycle. The leftward trend of Americans educated by liberal college and university faculty has accelerated. Even Evangelical Christians have sharply moved to the political left over the past ten years.

The government as an open source of welfare benefits helps a growing number of citizens and immigrants, both legal and illegal. U. S. demographics reveal an increasing minority population dependent on federal benefits rather than doing productive work in order to survive. Such minorities vote overwhelmingly  for the Democratic Party candidates. Now when I turned 18 and voted for the first time, I knew that a vote for Mr. Reagan would mean a reduction in student Pell Grants and students loans, which would hurt the chances of me getting loans or grants. I voted for Ronald Reagan because I believed him to be better for the country if worse for me. Most people are not that way, and if they are welfare-dependent tax consumers, they are more likely to vote for whom they believe will continue or increase their welfare income.As Hayek stated, a socialistic system will inevitably run the characters of people who are under it. Federal entitlements have ruined the character of the American people, and other than older people (over 65) who supported Mr. Romney +11, most people on entitlements voted what was good for them. They do not give a d..m about what is best for the United States of America.

Moral relativism is another reason Mr. Romney lost. Many Americans do not believe in moral absolutes and support unlimited abortion, physician-assisted suicide, active euthanasia, aggressive wars against nations that have not attacked nor harmed the United States, and homosexual marriage. Such a “transvaluation of values,” to use Nietzsche’s term, is more compatible with Mr. Obama rather than with Mr. Romney.

Race-based politics, in which minorities vote for other minorities (at least when such minorities are politically liberal) remains a problem due to the poison of identity politics that college and university professors as well as the NAACP buy into. Obama easily swept up the minority vote.
Changing demographics make it highly unlikely that any Republican candidate will be able to defeat a Democratic candidate, at least for the foreseeable future.

The cultural divide between rural/suburban and urban was clear from the county maps of the votes. Since many more people live in cities, and these inner city voters have been effectively mobilized by the Democratic Party, states with large urban centers are more likely to vote Democratic.

If the culture war is a popularity contest, the Right has lost. Its lingering influence may be seen in a Republican House of Representatives for a few more Congresses, but such a situation is not likely to continue long-term. The economic battles is also lost since Mr. Obama exploits class divisions effectively for his benefit.

I do not find hope for the United States to remain a major world leader in the future. Its course is downward, toward a third-world status. Even if defense suffers large-scale cuts, entitlements will continue to cost more than the country can afford. Defaulting on Chinese loans would be disastrous for the economy. Obama Care will create another massive federal bureaucracy that will further increase the deficit. I know doctors and PAs who are serious about moving to anther country if Obama Care continues—thus weakening an already downsized system overloaded with patients.

The Obama Cult is the final reason I will mention for people voting for Mr. Obama. That cult has gone to nauseating heights–from children signing a “hymn” to Mr. Obama in schools . Obama has replaced MLK as the Great Neo-God of America. The situation is as disturbing at Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and the hymns Chinese schoolchildren sang to honor him. People who worship like this will vote for him.

Mr. Romney ran a good campaign. It was not enough to stop many converging factors that any Republican will have to overcome to win the White House. I do not see how these factors can be overcome by a future GOP candidate.

Voting Straight Republican in Academia

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English: A female African Bush Elephant raises...

English: A female African Bush Elephant raises her trunk as a warning sign in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Donkey Face

Yesterday I stood in line over an hour and a half to vote on the first day of early voting in North Carolina. I voted straight Republican, the first time I have voted straight party since 1984. The reaction of liberal academics when I tell them of my vote is interesting (and I admit I enjoy telling them to see their reaction). Most know me so they later laugh about it, but the initial reaction is something like “You’re an idiot.” That can be said in good fun by a true liberal, but the more dogmatic liberals who believe that “the political is the personal” are not saying that in good fun. They truly believe that anyone who votes right of center is either a fool, insane, or a moral reprobate. Now this attitude is not confined to the left–to be fair, I have been castigated in a personal way for not buying into Christian-Israelism or the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Yet overall I have found conservatives, other than a few rabid Neoconservatives, to be more open to disagreement and to discussion than academic liberals. Liberals in the arts also tend to be intolerant in my experience. I try to avoid saying anything political in a group of writers because their reaction makes hostile reactions by academics look like  a kiss on the cheek. Although I strongly disagree with my Democratic friends and family members, I do not consider them morally reprobate. I do believe that they should examine the economy and debt and carefully reconsider their position, but if they stick with the Democrats and with Mr. Obama I do not think less of them as persons. Most Republicans, except for some Evangelicals and the more dogmatic Neocons, react the same way. On the left, older liberals, the working class unionized liberals, may fuss and fume with me, but they will be happy to have a drink with me afterwards. Academic liberals, especially those who are Marxist (most, not all Marxists) tend to divide the world into the class of good left wingers and evil right wingers, and the politics becomes the personal. That is a shame since life is more than politics and people may have other things in common. Democrats have to eat, raise families, make it through everyday problems–and so do Republicans. We are all human beings worthy of respect and, as a Christian, I would say that we are all created in God’s image. Both Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives should get out of the trap of making politics so large in their lives that it becomes a lens to evaluate people’s morality or intelligence.

Pseudo-Intellectual Assumptions

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THE NEW LEFT

THE NEW LEFT (Photo credit: SS&SS)

 

Having been in academia for so many years, and involved in creative writing for the past fourteen years, I have found many of the assumptions of academics and writers to be similar. Both classes would be considered intellectuals of a sort–I know it  takes a great deal of intelligence to do creative writing, and getting a Ph.D. takes a great of intellect and effort. When it comes to moral positions and politics, however, intellectuals seem no smarter than someone who could not make a D in English or science. On those areas, some of the “common people” have far more wisdom than the so-called intellectuals. The problem is that intellectuals believe that because they are experts in an academic discipline, they also have the practical reasoning to give good advice on political and moral positions. In these areas intellectuals often fall into pseudo-intellectuals. One way they reveal their ignorance is by their assumptions. Most academics and writers are liberals, and they assume falsely that other intellectuals and writers are all liberals like them. They also assume falsely that liberalism is self-evident rather than requiring justification and that any conservative is either ignorant, unethical, or both. The arguments of the academic and literary left, in my experience, are either abusive ad hominem, straw man, or poisoning the well. Very few genuine arguments are presented. It is easy to attack a person’s intelligence and/or character rather than engage in the difficult craft of good argumentation. Some academics and writers will listen to alternative points of view, but most, from my experience, are closed minded and identify the political and the personal. Conservatives, except for extremists, have no problems liking liberals personally or having liberal friends, and thankfully some liberals are the same way. But in academia and among many writers I have seen, liberals refuse to be friends with conservatives and tend to think they are bad people, especially those who defend traditional sexual ethics. Since the 1962 Port Huron Meeting, the New Left has gone on to dominate academia, poisoning it, most likely permanently. It is a shame that those who should be the most open to alternate points of view are often the most closed.

 

Stop Being So Sensitive!

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I am utterly sick of sensitive people–not those “sensitive” in a good way, but those people who are professionals at being offended in order to get their way or get money. Those after money are only different in degree than someone who points a gun at someone and says, “Hand over your money.” Discussing certain issues is taboo at many colleges and universities due to the intimidation and (sometimes) violence of the left. Consider what has happened to conservative speakers who come to college and university campuses. While some are treated with respect, others have been shouted down or threatened physically (as Tom Tancredo was treated a few years ago at UNC-Chapel Hill, when a brick was thrown through a window by a thuggish group and

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his talk was cancelled for the sake of everyone’s safety). In other cases, academics have lost their jobs when they criticized the politically correct mainstream–I know one personally. Most of them have either gotten their jobs back or been given a settlement since, thus far, the courts have respected freedom of speech. That could change in the future as Mr. Obama‘s appointments pile up in the federal judiciary.

Stifling discussion of controversial issues or only allowing one side to express itself does not allow room for learning and discussion. Some of the most productive class discussions I have experienced are when I bring up controversial topics or express “non-politically correct” positions. For example, I am morally opposed to abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Usually I am the only person in class holding that positions, and students are free to argue with me (and they do–vehemently). I learn something from their arguments and hopefully they learn something from mine. What if some “sensitivity Fascist” had said that my position on abortion should no longer be part of the “public square” because it offends some people? Since when did college and university students gain the right not to be offended. I do not mind the Marxist professor two doors down from me expressing his views to his classes as long as students are free to disagree and are not penalized for their positions. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and if Marxist positions can be presented, so can conservative positions in economics, morals, philosophy, and/or religion.

There are so many issues on which this nation is deeply divided–sexual ethics, racial issues, gender issues, issues regarding the role of government in combating poverty, issues surrounding health care. If discussion is halted just because someone is “offended,” this only serves to increase resentment on the part of those who disagree with the position of the professional sensitive person. We become even more divided and angry at one another. The best way for the culture war to become a true war rather than a war by means of language is to stifle discussion.

If “sensitivity training” really dealt with bad behavior, I suppose there would be no problem with it–men and women are wrong if they are in a supervisory position and request sexual favors from an employee before they promote that employee. That is unethical and illegal, and it should be. If someone constantly tells sexual jokes after being warned not to several times, that is bad behavior that can and should lead to termination from a job. But a man who is of equal rank in a company to a woman surely has the right to ask her out unless the company forbids inter-employee dating. Often a woman really will have plans on the day the man wanted to go out, so he will ask her again. Now if she says no then, if I am not mistaken, society generally says “two time’s the charm” and the man should not ask her out again (although there are men who married women whom they asked out many times–and they remain happily married). If some professional sensitive woman whines about sexual harassment when a man asks her out in a nice way on a date, this is oversensitive behavior from someone who either hates men, is a psychopath, enjoys hurting people, or wants easy money. Have some common sense, folks!

Racial issues have become so sensitive that many people won’t talk about them lest someone be offended. I do not deny that there are racists in our society–every society has them–and that sometimes racists will discriminate against those of a different race. When the race card is overplayed, however, in cases in which it is unwarranted, eventually any racial incident comes across as “crying wolf” and genuine incidents of racial prejudice may be unnecessarily ignored. When any criticism of Mr. Obama’s policies is labeled “racism,” that ignores the fact that many people disagree with the President’s policies–including some who voted for him. I do not hate or even dislike Mr. Obama, but I disagree with a number of his policies–and that does not make me a racist. I am a conservative, so of course I will disagree with Mr. Obama on some points. What else would you expect?

Liberals gain their power by playing on the sensitivity and resentments of people. They play up the envy the poor have for the middle classes and the wealthy. They emasculate man by calling any comment “sexist” that does not fit their radical feminist agenda of changing human nature, either by denying differences between males and females or trumping up “female virtues” as superior to “male virtues.” Those positions are self-contradictory, of course, but to the liberal, especially to the “postmodern” liberal, coherence is not a truth preserving condition.

As outspoken as I am, I keep some positions to myself, not because they are wrong, but because I know there would probably be a professional sensitive person in the audience who would misrepresent my beliefs–knowingly. On religious and moral issues I am more outspoken. Political issues are not values free, but they are contingent matters about which people even of similar world views disagree, and I must pick my battles. But I have grown more outspoken over the years because I am sick of a false, hypocritical “sensitivity” stifling discussion, especially of conservative positions, on issues important for the good of society.

Why Library Sales Have Such Good Choices in Books

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Historic works in a Bookshelf in the Prunksaal...

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I love library sales. Lately, I love them even more. The choices in books, especially the classics of Western literature, are incredible. Libraries are discarding good books so they can make room for those from a multicultural perspective. With all the officially accepted minority groups (African Americans, Arabs [Muslim Arabs, not Christian Arabs], Latinos, women [feminists only], homosexuals [only when they write on gay culture]), libraries are hard-pressed to include all these perspectives without discarding a large number of books. The books that suffer most are those that reflect the great tradition of Western Culture from its ancient roots in Sumeria, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Jewish and Christian thought to present day writers who focus on Western culture. Thus, poorly written, highly politicized books from a predominately Marxist perspective (Marx through the lens of Marcuse) replace literary classics, science books, and any other work that does not reflect a so-called “minority viewpoint.” For traditionalists, this situation provides a great opportunity. We can go to library sales, buy the fine books they have, and be enriched by the treasures of Western Culture. Those individuals who only read politicized pseud0-scholarly pablum will become dumber than ever. The bad thing about this situation is that people who visit libraries are exposed to intellectual left-wing multiculturalist ideology rather than to good, or even average, literature and scholarship. The course libraries and educational institutions have taken will leave the common person isolated from Western Culture unless he knows the Internet provides excellent options for reading great classic works. For more recent material, say, in popular science, the common person will have to look elsewhere than a library if he wants a good selection of books. Libraries today, especially academic libraries, are becoming more ideologically driven as library schools take over the values of multiculturalism, moral and epistemological relativism, and a lack of respect for Western civilization. Those of us who take advantage of the intellectual void in some libraries should buy wisely, read the books, and use their insights to live a better life–and to teach others the value of works that are classics, of informational guides in science–of any work that can increase knowledge and encourage wisdom, the wisdom that helps a person to develop good moral virtues. Hopefully students who miss good books in the library will go online to see which books are available. Years from now, what is left of Western Civilization might be preserved by some customer at a library sale.

Academics and Closed-Mindedness

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There is a thin line between open-mindedness and giving up reason, but closed-mindedness is always a threat to reason. College and university education should be the ideal place where open-minded but rational professors help students to think. This implies that professors love truth above professional success, fame, and other temptations. There are many professors who do place truth above finite goods–thank God for their presence in the academy. From my experience, other professors are locked into their world views and refuse to think outside the box, placing acceptance by their colleagues above seeking the truth.

One area in which such narrowness is found is politics. The vast majority of humanities professors are liberal Democrats; some are Marxists. Although some of these professors are “true liberals,” allowing students to express contrary opinions, others are intolerant of difference. Those who oppose liberals position on entitlement programs, for example, are labeled as “racist” by these professors, who obviously have no idea what the term “racist” really means. The situation is worse concerning moral issues: opposition to abortion can get a student labeled as a “pro-life nutcase.” Opposing practicing homosexuality automatically gets a student labeled as a bigot, and the student may be punished. Some faculty members have been fired for even bringing up arguments opposing homosexuality, although one such case was overturned by a court and the professor was rehired. Professors who count themselves as “trendy” are really the most conformist people of all. They are more predictable than religious Fundamentalists, and emotionally they have the same mindset.

Speaking of religion, there is a bias among many academics against traditional religious beliefs. Academics may have no problem with a watered-down liberal Protestantism or liberal Roman Catholicism, but may detest traditional Christian beliefs and morality. And even though Muslims hold traditional moral values, the academic left is not as critical of them because they are non-Christians. Religion is considered to be a crutch, an opiate (to use Karl Marx’s term), an excuse for persecuting the poor,  a denial of reality, and an enemy to society in general. What religious expression there is is relegated to the private realm–woe be to the faculty member who mentions his Christianity in class, and the same often applies to students, especially to traditional Evangelicals and to traditional Roman Catholics.

Some professors are guilty of other kinds of prejudice. Psi phenomena, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis are well-documented to the point that parapsychologists mainly do process studies to show how psi works rather than proving that psi exists. Yet many professors dismiss a student or colleague who accepts the reality of psi as a “new-aged nut.” “I don’t know what happened to him, but somewhere along the line he went nuts.” Such conclusions are reached without an open and honest examination of the evidence for and against psi phenomena. The sciences have been the most closed-minded disciplines concerning psi. And although there was a period in the 1970s in which the humanities were more open to psi, today the situation has reverted to the same kinds of prejudice found in the sciences. Papers that accept the existence of psi  are usually only accepted by psi journals and at psi conferences, although recently there have been a few exceptions among psychology journals. Opinions contrary to the establishment are silenced by lack of publication, a death-knell to any instructor seeking tenure.

A third area in which there is closed-mindedness in academia is medical ethics. It is more and more difficult to find an article in a mainstream bioethics journal from a traditional moral perspective. One major exception is the UK-based Journal of Medical Ethics which has published articles from many different points of view, including morally conservative ones. Looking over issues of the Hastings Center Report, the premier bioethics journal in the United States, the articles in the 1070s reflected far more balance between traditionalists and nontraditionalists in ethics than the articles today. There was a greater role for theological ethicists, such as the late Paul Ramsey, to have their say. On the issue of health care allocation, The New England Journal of Medicine has served more as an apologetics journal for Mr. Obama’s health care program rather than a journal that presents a balanced point of view. From the point of view of the university professor, it is easier to get articles published in mainstream journals if one is in favor of abortion rights, embryonic stem cell research, physician assisted suicide, and even, as Jonathan Hardwig, in favor of a “duty to die,” including a duty to commit suicide if one’s illness is financially and emotionally harming one’s family. Would a pro-life professor have any chance to become department head at a major state university? I doubt it. Traditionalists are forced to take jobs at the few Roman Catholic institutions that affirm traditional morality or at an Evangelical Protestant school, and even the latter are moving to the left on moral issues. I am not opposed to a moral liberal, a religious liberal, and/or a political liberal being in academia. But there are other positions out there that need to be heard so that students have a more balanced perspective. Maybe one day the legacy of the 1960s closed-minded radicals who ruined much of academia may change–the sooner the better.

Conservatives vs. Liberals: Radically Different World Views

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Why is there is such a deep conflict between conservatives and liberals in American society? It is not because people want to argue for argument’s sake; it has to do with radically contrasting views of the world. Below are some differences between traditional conservatives and liberals. Note that I am not saying that all people who label themselves as liberals and conservatives would accept all the positions attributed to them. I do believe that the positions below are characteristic of most conservatives and of most liberals.

Conservatives believe that society is an organic structure that develops from below; liberals believe that society is an artificial construction that can be manipulated at will.

Conservatives believe that traditional religion is an important social activity that encourages virtue; liberals believe that traditional religion is an outdated system that should be abandoned in any enlightened society.

Liberals believe in unlimited human progress; conservatives believe that while scientific and technological progress occurs, this does not change the fundamental nature of human beings as capable of both great good and great evil.

Liberals believe that “evil” is due to problems with heredity and environment; conservatives do not deny the role of heredity and environment in shaping human behavior, but they deny that these factors determine human behavior.

Conservatives (at least traditional conservatives as opposed to Classical Liberals and Neoconservatives) believe in a sense of place, of a person being located in a particular place and time and finding much of his identity there; liberals believe that in order to progress, a sense of place must go, and that a person can feel “at home” anywhere.

Conservatives believe that there is an intrinsic order to human nature that must be respected; liberals believe that human nature is malleable and can be changed at will by liberal reformers.

Conservatives believe that social change must occur in an orderly fashion, even when such change is good; liberals wish to force change on a society, using police and military power if necessary.

Liberals believe that the value of human life is a matter of achievement or reason or sentience; conservatives believe that there is something intrinsically valuable about human life.

Conservatives believe that the fundamental principles of morality do not change; liberals believe that the rules of morality progress as humans progress.

Liberals believe in abstractions such as “social justice,” or “the proposition that all men are created equal”–abstractions that can never be achieved in concrete society; conservatives believe that terms such as “social justice” and “equality” must be defined in terms of the actual concrete development and life of a particular culture.

Liberals (including Classical Liberals) accept the myth of “economic man“–that humans in society are primarily driven by economic forces; conservatives recognize that human motivation is complex and includes more than mere economic motivations.

Liberals believe that all stereotypes are evil; conservatives recognize that although some stereotypes are destructive, others are peaceful ways of human beings understanding differences.

Liberals interpret “diversity” only in terms of race, class, and gender; conservatives realize that “diversity” is a much richer concept that transcends the above categories.

Liberals believe that human creativity blossoms in a cosmopolitan culture; conservatives, while not denying that cultures intermingle, believe that local cultures are the most creative.

Liberals trust in big government to solve problems; Neoconservative trust in big business; Traditional Conservatives believe that problems are best solved locally.

Conservatives believe that marriage is a natural law union of a man and a woman oriented to the birth of children in stable families; liberals believe that “marriage” can be defined in any way that people wish without harming society.

Liberals despise the wisdom of the masses; conservatives believe that sometimes the masses know better than intellectuals what is best for society.

Liberals want Heaven on earth; conservatives recognize that Heaven on earth is impossible; we can do our best to love our families and improve our small communities, but a perfect society is impossible this side of Heaven.

 

If any conservatives who read this want to add some contrasts of their own, feel free to do so.

Groupthink

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Americans pride themselves on their individualism, on their belief in personal autonomy and being subject to no outside authority but the self. What has saved the country so far has been the fact that individuals do no, in fact, live their lives this way–except for self-centered (pick the bad word of your choice). What is ironic is that the more Americans pride themselves on individualism, the more conforming they become. And those who whine the most about personal autonomy are those who insist that everyone else agree with them or else.

It has always been interesting when a young woman, for example, gets a nose ring, a navel ring, and God knows what else, believing that she is asserting her individuality. However, it often turns out that everyone in her peer group has rings in the same places. What begins as a “nonconformity” becomes a fad, and then becomes semi-institutionalized in peer groups. When I lived in Athens, Georgia twenty years ago, there was a group of ladies everyone called “Townies.” They dyed their hair jet black, dressed neatly in black, and appeared Goth-like, although I do not believe they were Goth. They all looked alike. How did Americans become such conformists in the name of nonconformity?

It is at the level of ideas that American groupthink becomes dangerous. Not questioning the war party in Washington, for example, helps politicians to bring the nation into needless wars with little public opposition. Or take abortion–in academia there is some opposition to abortion, but not among the vast majority of academics. The same is true of other traditional values–academics teach students to rebel against such values, yet academia is the most conforming setting in the world, where at some schools any deviance from the politically correct (translate “left wing”) norm is severely punished. At the very least, the person who accepts traditional morality will be labeled a “hater.” However, who is the real nonconformist–the academic who follows his fellow academic lemmings into the lake of liberalism or the academic who stands against the crowd. I laugh at liberal Christian academics who talk about being “prophetic” while living in their fine houses and driving their fine cars–they are about as conforming and unprophetic as one can imagine. The true prophet may be the lone student at a liberal seminary who stands against the crowd for orthodoxy. That student can pay a steep cost for speaking up. The academic theologian merely gets congratulated by his fellow academics: “Your message is so prophetic, man.” It is a disgusting sight.

Groupthink has been taught in colleges and universities by means of “sensitivity training,” and in the past, speech codes. While the speech codes were removed under pressure from the courts, de facto, at many schools, they still exist. A conservative in academia is a true noncomformist, standing against the dominant liberal crowd, especially in the Humanities, which is the most left-wing part of academia.

Academic conformists and conformists in tacky dress or tacky rings have one thing in common: they are all lemmings, blindly following their ideological or fashion leaders over a cliff.  It will be interesting to see how many of them can swim.

The French Revolution, Rationalism, and the Left

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Since the time of Rene Descartes (1596-1650), French philosophy has been characterized by rationalism, the view that our knowledge comes through reason rather than through sense experience. Descartes began a trend toward rationalism in philosophy on the European continent as a whole (with the exception of the British Isles, and in the 20th and 21st centuries, with the exception of Scandinavia). In politics, it is dangerous to apply a rationalist approach, since that approach is often used by idealistic thinkers to set up an ideal political state arising from thought alone rather than from concrete human experience. In the ancient world, Plato is a good example; in his ideal state, babies are taken from their parents at birth and whisked off to state-run nurseries. There, children attain their “natural state” of being artisans or soldiers; later, from among the soldiers are chosen philosopher kings who rule with dictatorial power hidden by “noble lies” they tell the people. Aristotle rightly countered that government should start from below with the actual historical development of a people rather than being imposed via some idealistic rationalist framework.

The practical results of such a rationalist approach are seen in the tragedy of the French Revolution. What began as a series of grievances against King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, quickly degenerated into a rationalist framework being imposed on the French people. A new “age of reason” was proclaimed, tradition trashed, and the king and queen executed. Later, after Robespierre’s rise to power, the new modern apparatus of the police state was used to round up those who opposed those in power, or simply opposed the attempt to eliminate Catholicism and replace it with a cult of reason. As a result, tens of thousands of heads rolled from the guillotine. The attempt to oppose a government run by the “reasonable elite” led to tyranny. Since then, that threat became even more dangerous with Rousseau’s notion of the “general will,” which can be used as an excuse to label the most brutal tyranny “the will of the people.” The proper question to ask is “which people”? The answer is almost always in terms of the elites who run the state according to their rationalistic plan no matter how many people are killed. The cause becomes higher than the individual.

This scenario was repeated by the followers of Karl Marx. Lenin murdered hundreds of thousands of those who “opposed the people.” Stalin, though more of a psychopath and thug than an ideological Marxist, murdered millions in the gulags and his forced relocation of millions of people.

Those who wield political power in the United States are more benign–people are generally not killed or imprisoned for their beliefs that oppose the position of the state. But top-down management by elites takes place to the point that the United States often seems to have the form of a democratic republic without the content. Federal judges make mandates and force them onto the people against their will–not because those mandates are really constitutional, but because the judge has a rationalistic vision of society he or she wishes to impose on the rest of society. Government bureaucrats do similar things, with their arrogant “we know best” attitude. This arrogance is supported by media elites who despise Middle America as a group of ignorant hicks, and who believe that if their vision of society prevails, we will live in a utopia, a secularized heaven on earth. The American left eagerly supports their goals with an almost missionary zeal. When Middle America opposed the left’s goals, as in the Tea Party movement, the left does not resort to rational argument, but to name-calling. This is ironic–if the left really believed that, say, redistribution of wealth, unlimited access to abortion, affirmative action, etc., were rational, they would present arguments to support their position. But for the most part they do not do so–and no empirical evidence against their methods, no matter how persuasive, will phase them–after all, if their form of government is so clearly proven by reason, their position, they hold, cannot be touched by the evidence of our senses.

The alternative is to realizes that governments should arise from the bottom-up, not from the top-down. A government, as Aristotle recognized, reflects the geography, history, and traditions of a people. This does not mean that “anything goes;” in fact, Aristotle strongly condemns tyranny. As traditional conservatives such as Russell Kirk argued, it is best to respect a people’s traditions and not impose an artificial, rationalist ideology to remake society, including political governance, in its image.