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Wonderful? Sorry, George, Itís a Pitiful, Dreadful Life
The New York Slimes ^ | December 18, 2008 | WENDELL JAMIESON

Posted on 12/22/2008 4:47:10 AM PST by 7thson

Lots of people love this movie of course. But I’m convinced it’s for the wrong reasons. Because to me “It’s a Wonderful Life” is anything but a cheery holiday tale. Sitting in that dark public high school classroom, I shuddered as the projector whirred and George Bailey’s life unspooled.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Music/Entertainment; Society
KEYWORDS: christmas; culturewar; frankcapra; god; grinchstolechristmas; itsawonderfullife; ivorytower; jimmystewart; liberalelites; liberalloon; postmodernism; society
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I did a quick search and did not see this posted. A very sad commentary on how the elite look upon the small towns of the United States. The writer sees Bedford Falls as dull and oppressing but sees Pottersville as exciting and lively. What the author fails to see in this movie is the power of God. His teacher told him to watch out how Bailey treats his future wife or the blank, lifeless stare of the cabbie in the alternative life. The essence of the film for me is near the end when George is running away and comes back to the bridge. He cries/prays for the angel to help him. Only when he says Please God, bring my family back, does it start snowing again and his lip bleeds again. The NYT writer - as wise as he thinks he is - cannot see that with God, all things are possible.
1 posted on 12/22/2008 4:47:11 AM PST by 7thson
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To: 7thson

This writers version would have been a blank screen for 45 minutes.


2 posted on 12/22/2008 4:56:23 AM PST by Dallas59 (Not My President)
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To: 7thson
A great many people are fighting a war against God. They don't necessarily know that. They don't necessarily intend to do it. But they love the excitement and attraction of a glitzy, glamorous world in which everyone can chase after their own pleasure. They oppose the kind of life that values family, personal responsibility and a relationship with God.

I teach my children that we are a persecuted minority in America. This country will not get better until it experiences a true spiritual revival.

3 posted on 12/22/2008 4:58:25 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: 7thson
Was there any doubt that a NYT columnist would see “Its a Wonderful Life” as anything other than an oppressive representation of that Liberal Great White Whale, the pre-1968, middle-class America? I could have written the rest myself after he talked about the “oppressively perfect wife.” A, yes, a juvenile rant against Middle America wouldn't be complete without the Stepford Wife reference.

I'll tell you what's pitiful, dreadful and stifling: a rigidly-enforced cultural narrative in which everyone is desperate to escape the religion of the small town for the booze and hookers of the big city (Potterville in this column). Grow up, Wendell.

4 posted on 12/22/2008 5:01:02 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard
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To: 7thson
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams,

The writer is making the assumption that "living your dreams" as you think they ought to be is always liberating. It is a paradox. The psychiatrist's offices are filled with celebrities who have lived their dreams, "have it all" and are still miserable, and have no answers because they see indulging their dreams and whims as the road to happiness. At the end of the movie, George Bailey is happy, in part because even these "small-minded" people did appreciate him and what he has done. Unlike the author, Bailey has "grown up" and has embraced the wonderful life he has been given.
5 posted on 12/22/2008 5:02:07 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: 7thson
An excellent commentary on how really blind the liberal elite are. Poor, poor wretches. Really.
6 posted on 12/22/2008 5:09:47 AM PST by fwdude ("...a 'centrist' ... has few principles - and those are negotiable." - Don Feder)
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To: 7thson
living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising...

All he saw in that town were small-minded, bitter people? The pain of compromising to accept responsibilities thrust on you against your will is terrifying? So it might be, but those responsibilities will come, and you will choose to meet them with grace or with bitterness, or you will choose to run away.

Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking.

Does he remember how much fun those hot women were having, how happy they looked?

7 posted on 12/22/2008 5:12:40 AM PST by heartwood (Tarheel in exile)
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To: 7thson
From the comments section after the article:

"In addition to wrecking the economy of Bedford Falls, George may be responsible for the housing bubble by introducing subprime mortgages to the town."

What sad & empty souls this paper & its readers must possess. God bless FreeRepublic. I love you guys.

8 posted on 12/22/2008 5:14:11 AM PST by laotzu
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To: 7thson
This article is interesting because it displays how little the writer, Wendell Jamieson, undestands about being a responsible man in America. To Jamieson, every virtue, from thrift to good grooming, is seen as a negative. In his eyes George Bailey wasted his life struggling to provide for his family and town, when he could have been partying down at the Kit-Kat Klub.

I guess it is the difference between people who have known hard times and people who have not. If you have grown up in the last thirty years, you have known nothing but wealth and opportunity at every turn. The notion that anybody would have to struggle to put bread on the table is as foreign as stories of isolated head-hunter tribes of the South Pacific. Jamieson can not understand that most people really did live one step away from destitution not so very long ago, and that to build a stable, solid life, with a nice house, and loving spouse and beautiful, healthy children was quite an achievement. Nowadays people take these things for granted.

And, of course, the greatest insult is when this movie is plucked out of time and used as grist for their ironic hipster mill. The very lowest points in George Bailey's are held up as being typical, and indicators of the oppression and backwardness of the man. I wonder how Mr. Jamieson’s life would appear to an observer if I cherry-picked the four or five episodes that take him at his worst, string them together and say that they represent his entire life.

The movie displays these episodes not because they are typical, but because they are atypical. George Bailey perseveres through the difficulties of his life, making the best of things, helping his neighbors, and providing for his family, and does so with grace and courage. On occasion, he falls into despair. But from those occasions come his greatest triumphs, small though they may seem to Wendell Jamieson’s eyes.

9 posted on 12/22/2008 5:14:37 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: heartwood

Anybody who thinks the Violet Binks of Pottersville looked better than the Violet Binks of Bedford Falls should have his eyes examined.


10 posted on 12/22/2008 5:17:10 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: 7thson
In terms of the theft, sure, you take the money and put it back, you still committed the larceny,” he said. “By giving the money back, you have mitigated in large measure what the sentence might be, but you are still technically guilty of the offense.”

This struck me as particularly dumb, and I wonder if this prosecutor is equally dumb or if he's never seen the movie--or, perhaps, New York has an odd larceny law.

But at common law, larceny is the trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the previous possessor thereof. What Bailey did in the movie wasn't larceny; he didn't have any intent to steal the money. The money was lost; it wasn't stolen. There might be some sort of banking laws that he violated, but it's not larceny.

11 posted on 12/22/2008 5:17:12 AM PST by Publius Valerius
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To: heartwood
Does he remember how much fun those hot women were having, how happy they looked?

If you were referring to Violet Biggs viciously fighting the cops, yeah, that was one "fun and exciting" scene. It's implied that crime is through the roof in Pottersville (George's mother in the Bailey Boarding House barely opens the door, as if afraid of a home invasion robbery) but the author conveniently doesn't bring that up.

12 posted on 12/22/2008 5:18:16 AM PST by fwdude ("...a 'centrist' ... has few principles - and those are negotiable." - Don Feder)
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To: fwdude

“An excellent commentary on how really blind the liberal elite are. Poor, poor wretches. Really.”

You’re completely right. After our next revolution, this article should be in all of the text books to record what we were forced to fight. We need to tell future generations that our rulers thought this way and ruled accordingly.


13 posted on 12/22/2008 5:18:23 AM PST by demshateGod (the GOP is dead to me)
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To: 7thson

The movie is an almost perfect example of the ideal of traditional America. Not perfect, but providing a good life for more people than any other in all human history.

The author of this review and his fellow travelers loathe, hate and despise that America and anyone who still believes in it. This article is an almost perfect example of their rejection of what America is, or used to be, or perhaps what it used to want to be.

The director, Frank Capra, was an Italian immigrant who lived the American dream. He would be quite ashamed of Mr. Jamiesen and his ilk.


14 posted on 12/22/2008 5:24:16 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: Publius Valerius

In the movie there was no claim that the money was stolen.

There was a discrepancy in the books. With the money returned, the discrepancy was accounted for and the problem went away.

Maybe George found the money on the Clintons’ dining room table.


15 posted on 12/22/2008 5:27:03 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: gridlock

Anybody who thinks Mary Bailey isn’t the hottest thing around should have his head examined.

It seems this author intentionally misinterprets almost every scene in the movie.


16 posted on 12/22/2008 5:28:54 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: Sherman Logan

Indeed!


17 posted on 12/22/2008 5:30:05 AM PST by Tigercap
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To: 7thson

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people

When Wendell Jamieson loses his job, or becomes suddenly confronted with a mortal illness or debiltating injury, or finds himself set adrift in a society broke down by pandemic or internal strife

I pity him for not having a small town full of "bitter small-minded people" to return to. He will surely not find sustenance or human compassion in Pottersville (or Time's Square)
18 posted on 12/22/2008 5:30:35 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: gridlock
I admire your take on the film. Ironic it died at the box office when it came out but is now a Christmas classic. The author of the NTY hit-piece either fails or doesn't want to grasp the power of one, good decent man fighting against corruption and greed. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when it really sinks in to George the reality of him not being there. He discovers his brother is dead. When told that his brother died under the ice he claims his brother saved that transport ship. Clarence says everyone on that transport ship died because Harry was not there to save them because George was not there to save Harry. For people not to see and realize how the small, selfless acts that we do every day has emense consequences in the future is mind-boggling. It amazes me that people concentrate on the what they perceive as the darkness and bitterness of the film and not see what the glories of God can bring.

And yes, at times, we all fall into despair. It is interesting to note that prior to George's Uncle misplacing the money, everything finally seemed to be going alright for George. The author also ruminates that George would still be liable for the missing money and misses out that it should be Old Man Potter sent to prison for stealing - yes he stole the money by not giving it back. We need more George Bailey's in our lives and in society.

19 posted on 12/22/2008 5:32:59 AM PST by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: fwdude

Compare this woman to the one who was hauled out of Regina's House of Dolls...


20 posted on 12/22/2008 5:34:44 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: 7thson

the way i see the movie.. is that there is that feeling of frustration and asphyxiation.. that is built up on all of jimmy stewarts self-less acts through out the movie..

and at his darkest moment he fully believes that all his lifetime of good deeds and living honestly and selflessly has led to nothing...

But then the story turns.. and we see that all his good deeds did mean something.. not only in the alternate world sequence.. but also when he comes back and all the people he helped out in small ways.. returns the favor..

so stewart’s character can then relinquish all his pent up animosity for choosing a selfless life.. and foregoing his dream.. coz the life he has lived was actually better..


21 posted on 12/22/2008 5:35:02 AM PST by outlawjake
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To: Publius Valerius

I have to disagree with you up to a point. The money was lost by George and his uncle. It was stolen by Old Man Potter. It should be he prosecueted for larceny. To be truly lost would be if the uncle dropped it in the sewer or something like that and nobody got a hold of it. Other than that, I agree with you.


22 posted on 12/22/2008 5:39:00 AM PST by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: outlawjake

Extremely well said as it is how I have always viewed the story. Have a Merry Christmas.


23 posted on 12/22/2008 5:42:00 AM PST by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: Dr. Sivana

“The writer is making the assumption that “living your dreams” as you think they ought to be is always liberating. It is a paradox. The psychiatrist’s offices are filled with celebrities who have lived their dreams, “have it all” and are still miserable, and have no answers because they see indulging their dreams and whims as the road to happiness...” ~ Dr. Sivana

Exactly. bttt

Belief in Disbelief, or Inside the Postmodern Skeptic Tank
http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/2007/11/belief-in-disbelief-or-inside.html

“[T]he new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything.... And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything. For denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.... In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. ­~ G.K. Chesterton

One of the key ideas of Orthodoxy is that we require a stable framework in order to think productively and deeply about reality, and that certain frameworks (Chesterton would say one framework) have been given to us from “on high,” so to speak, in order to accomplish this. Naturally, the “radical” opposes this constraint on his freedom, but freedom in itself is not freeing, any more than progress in itself is progressive; without limits, or boundary conditions, the former is “nothingness” or “lostness,” while the latter is just pointless change, drift, or entropy.

This reminds me of the distinction Polanyi drew between what he called the open society and the free society. He used the practice of science to illustrate the difference, pointing out that a truly free society does not merely consist of everyone believing whatever they want. Science, for example, is a free and spontaneous intellectual order that is nevertheless based on a distinctive set of beliefs about the world, through which the diverse actions of individual scientists are coordinated. Like the cells in your body, individual scientists independently go about their business, and yet, progress is made because their activities are channeled by the pursuit of real truth.

In contrast, in a merely “open” society, there is no such thing as transcendent truth: perception is reality and everyone is free to think and do as he pleases, with no objective standard by which to judge it. This kind of “bad freedom” eventually ramifies into the cognitively pathological situation we now see on the left, especially as it manifests in its purest form in academia (the liberal arts, not the sciences, except to the extent that science devolves into metaphysical scientism).

Initially, the assault on the existence of objective truth seems liberating, as we are freed from the dictates of arbitrary authority.

However, the whole idea of the individual pursuit of truth was a deeply liberal project, since truth was not accepted a priori but was subject to criticism and logical or empirical demonstration. But with deconstruction ­ the Swiss pacifist knife of the intellectual left ­ the entire concept of truth is undermined, so there is no way to arbitrate between competing notions of reality.

Therefore, whoever has the power may enforce their version of reality, which is what political correctness is all about: Truth is arbitrary, but you had better believe my version of it, or be branded a bigot, or a homophobe, or a white male oppressor. One more reason why contemporary liberalism is so deeply illiberal. Their ideas cannot be argued on the merits, so they are enforced by the illegitimate authority of political correctness.

If you are on the left, you are undoubtedly oblivious to this bullying pressure (unless you are a totally cynical Clinton-type who does it consciously). If you are on the right, you feel it all the time ­ cognitive “stop signs” that impede you from uttering certain truths in public for fear of triggering attack. The politically correct leftist is always a passively-aggressive controlling person ­ hardly a victim, but an aggressor (for his self-imposed victimization legitimizes the release of amoral sadistic aggression).

Thus, the deep structure of the left-right divide in this country goes beyond the secular vs. religious worldview.

A purely secular society is an open society, where all points of view, no matter how stupid or dysfunctional, are equally valued (e.g., multiculturalism and moral relativism), whereas a truly free society must be rooted in something permanent and transcendent.

It doesn’t necessarily have to come from religion, although it inevitably leads in that direction. Mainly, in order to be truly free, one must acknowledge a source of truth that is independent of man, an antecedent reality that is perceived by the intellect, not the senses. Fortunately, our founders knew that the self-evident religious truths that constrain us actually set us free (indeed, are the very basis of our liberty).

You may note that this has direct relevance for the current debate between strict constructionists vs. the notion of a “living constitution.” In reality, strict adherence to the constitution results in increased freedom and democracy, while the “living constitution” quickly devolves into judicial tyranny. If you enjoy playing blackjack, your freedom is not really enhanced if the dealer can either hit or stand on 16, depending on his moment-to-moment interpretation of the living rules of blackjack.

How can a progressive even be progressive unless he has some permanent standard by which to measure his progress? In the absence of such a standard, there is only meaningless change, rebellion, random reshuffling, not progress.

As mentioned yesterday, atheists ironically fantasize about a day when human beings will be liberated from the shackles of religion and be truly “free” to think what they want. First of all, this is analogous to a musician longing for the day when he is free to play his instrument without the annoying constraints of scales, notes, and keys. Perhaps more importantly, that day has already arrived. The atheistic free thinkers are noisily trying to knock down doors that are already wide open, especially in the arts and in academia. There you can see the direct consequences of “free thought,” and it is hardly any kind of liberation, but rather a stupifyingly oppressive nihilism.

For those of you who are not jazz mavens, there was a movement in the 1960’s called “free jazz.” As a matter of fact, it wasn’t so much a musical movement as a political one ­ or at least it was indistinguishable from the breaking political winds of the day, i.e, “black liberation.” There was the idea that one could absolutely break through the chordal structure of (white) western music and achieve a kind of quasi-religious purity of expression. True, you can do this, but it leads in a circle back to the “pre-musical” expressions of an angry or exuberant child. It is a “song of myself,” by myself and for myself. In a word, pure narcissism, or musical maestrobation. It is the end of music, just as atheism is ­ and must be ­ the end of thought, i.e, intellection, as opposed to mere computation.

Again I must emphasize that no one is more surprised than I am at the essentially infinite amount of cognitive music one may play within the chordal structure of religion. One is not constrained but set free. I used to be a “free thinker,” but the quality of thought I produced was essentially worthless get-a-cluevinilia. And now that I think about it, it was worthless for very specific reasons. Among others, it lacked timelessness, universality, generativity, wholeness, harmony, radiance ­ exactly the things that revelation embodies par excellence.

This is why a Meister Eckhart or Denys the Areopagite will always be timely ­ because their thought is rooted in a source “outside time” ­ whereas the narrow-minded rants of a Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchins are already beyond their hackspiration date by the time they have been pabulished. Truly, they are by the dead and for the dead, the blind leading the bland. In the absence of transcendent truth, freedom’s just a nothing word for leftists to abuse.

Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame.... The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits.... Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three-sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. ­~ Chesterton”

By Gagdad Bob aka Bob Robert W.Godwin, Ph.D - a clinical psychologist whose interdisciplinary work has focused on the relationship between contemporary psychoanalysis, chaos theory, and quantum physics.


24 posted on 12/22/2008 5:45:31 AM PST by Matchett-PI ("Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is anti-liberty" - Gagdad)
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To: 7thson

If you want more grist for the mill, read the comments after the article. Some people defend the movie and find Wendell disturbing. Others use it as a chance to rant against oppressive, sappy Middle American values.


25 posted on 12/22/2008 5:45:55 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard
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To: 7thson
Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking.

George wants to see the world, true, but he wants more than a three-day drunk...he wants to build bridges and skyscrapers. George wants to work and achive.

I always think of Bifftown, in the parallel timeline world in Back to the Future 2, with relation to Pottersville. This writer would probably LOVE to live there...what could be more exciting than gangs shooting up your house?

26 posted on 12/22/2008 5:52:29 AM PST by 50sDad (On the Left, compassion is measured by intent, not results.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

“I teach my children that we are a persecuted minority in America. This country will not get better until it experiences a true spiritual revival.”

I’m not an evangelist. I bristle at religion being force fed. I say that as a disclaimer, because I believe you’re right.

America thrived as a Christian nation that loved God. As we have moved away from our Christian roots, our country has fallen ill.


27 posted on 12/22/2008 5:53:00 AM PST by brownsfan (We are sooooo screwed.)
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To: gridlock

“Anybody who thinks the Violet Binks of Pottersville looked better than the Violet Binks of Bedford Falls should have his eyes examined..”

Agreed.....however I though the Donna Reed charcter looked great in both Pottersville and Bedford Falls locales ....but I always had a thing for Donna Reed!!!


28 posted on 12/22/2008 5:53:02 AM PST by Le Chien Rouge
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To: Matchett-PI

Thank you for the Chesterton quotations. I never tire of them. He was an amazing man. He writes faster than I can read even though he’s been dead for 70 years!


29 posted on 12/22/2008 5:55:02 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: demshateGod; Dr. Sivana

“After our next revolution, this article should be in all of the text books to record what we were forced to fight. We need to tell future generations that our rulers thought this way and ruled accordingly.” ~ demshateGod

Here’s another article for those text books:

Life Amidst the Postmodern Ruins
http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/2007/11/life-amidst-postmodern-ruins.html

... I was very impressed with how Chesterton, although writing in 1907, had already diagnosed the pathologies of the left. In fact, his ideas mirror exactly what Polanyi wrote some 50 years later about the “moral inversion” of the left, i.e., the dangerous combination of radical skepticism and an unhinged, ruthless moral perfectionism unbound from tradition.

Chesteron writes of the socialist that although he may have a “large and generous heart,” it is “not a heart in the right place.” And only a human being can have a heart dangerously set in the wrong location. It generally occurs “when a religious scheme is shattered” as a result of their intense skepticism. When this happens, “it is not merely the vices that are let loose.” Rather, “the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage.” Just because someone has a moral code, it hardly means that they are moral.

I have written a number of posts on the dynamics of this pathological process, which I thought that Polanyi had been the first to recognize. But Chesterton also writes of how “the modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.”

Most every destructive policy put into place by the left can be traced to some Christian virtue gone mad ­ i.e., feed the hungry, so steal from “the rich” and call it “giving,” or defending abortion on the basis of the sanctity of “liberty,” or encouraging every manner of deviancy under the guise of “tolerance.”

They have the bizarre idea that it is “easier to forgive sins” if “there are no sins to forgive” ­ except for the sin of believing they exist.

Or the leftist might extract and focus upon a single virtue to the exclusion of others, which creates a dangerous imbalance, for example, “a merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity.” John Edwards’ campaign is based almost solely upon this idea, but again, what he calls “charity,” the rest of us call coercion. And boundless charity in the absence of any obligation on the part of the recipient is a recipe for anthropological disaster.

Schuon would agree with Chesterton that the leftist is “really the enemy of the human race ­ because he is so human.” Of all the animals, only a human being can sink beneath himself ­ and even beneath the animals. And he does so primarily by imagining that an animal is all he is, for when human intelligence is in the service of animal instinct, the result is hell on earth ­ and bear in mind that Chesterton was writing before the great atheistic movements of the 20th century ­ the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, et al, so he clearly grasped the principle before it actually played out in history.

And Chesterton could prophecize in this manner because he could see directly into the “principial” world of timeless truth embodied in revelation. Again, revelation instantiates metaphysical truths with which it is possible to “think beyond the surface,” both in space and in time, interior and exterior. Thus, unlike postmodernists who believe that “perception is reality,” he writes that “man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert ­ himself.” This leads to the erosion of universality and the elevation of particularity to the ultimate ­ which quickly devolves into nihilism.

Conversely, the part that a man doubts “is exactly the part he ought not doubt ­ the Divine Reason.” But this inversion obviously persists ­ indeed, it is practically the fault line that runs between left and right ­ and is responsible for a range of pathological ideas, from multiculturalism, to moral relativism, to the belief in “self esteem,” to reducing standards in general to achieve some preconceived end.

The left also practices a “false humility.” After all, it can sound like a plea for humility when the postmodern multiculturalist asks, “who am I to say that I can possess the truth, or that one culture is better than another?” But this attitude is a “more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic.” That is ­ and this is apparently a subtle point, so listen closely ­ “The old humility was a spur that prevented man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.”

This is one of the reasons that the left habitually attacks motives instead of substance, for they first undermine the idea that you can know anything objectively, and then insist that the purpose of knowledge is domination and oppression anyway. For the last several years, “job one” of of the left has been to make us doubtful of our aims in Iraq, in the hope that we will simply become demoralized and surrender.

But they do this so selectively that it is mind-boggling. For example, surely there was more credible evidence that Saddam had WMD than that the earth is undergoing catastrophic manmade warming. But in both cases, their main argument is that people who disagree with them have venal motives. In the case of President Bush, he really wanted to invade Iraq because he thought it would somehow enrich his already wealthy “friends.” And in the case of global warming, those who reject the theory are simply on the payroll of Bush’s wealthy friends. So for all practical purposes, humility is not possible on the left, since their conspiratorial form of thought means that they always have the answer. And it sounds humble to the stupid, since they are always opposed to the intrinsically racist-sexist-homophobic America.

So, just as the left engages in the moral inversion of detaching virtue from tradition, they engage in a weird “cognitive inversion” that combines “intellectual helplessness” with a kind of monstrously arrogant omniscience. This is how you can spend some $100,000 plus on an elite university education, only to learn that truth doesn’t exist and we possess it.

Once again, Chesterton was a prophet with regard to the problem of the “tenured radicals” who have hijacked our higher educational system: “The peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself. Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought.” How did he know about the narcissistic boomers 40 years before the first one was born?

Chesterton writes that “there is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped.” It is the thoroughly irrational thought that our thoughts have no relationship to reality and that truth is therefore inaccessible to human beings. This radical skepticism was “the ultimate evil against which religious authority was aimed,” which is why, “in so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof that cannot themselves be proved. And in the act of destroying the idea of Divine authority we have largely destroyed the idea of that human authority by which we do a long-division sum. With a long and sustained tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it.”

For if the converse were true ­ i.e., the blind materialism of natural selection ­ “it does not destroy religion but rationalism,” for it nullifies the mind that can know truth. It is the equivalent of “I am not; therefore I cannot think.”

Thus, “it is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin.” For we have already seen the effects of this gloriously unbound, “free” thought, since the results are strewn all around us. Indeed, we must try to get through the day ­ and our lives ­ by making our way through its ruins. ~ Gagdad Bob

(Gagdad Bob aka: Robert W.Godwin, Ph.D - is a clinical psychologist whose interdisciplinary work has focused on the relationship between contemporary psychoanalysis, chaos theory, and quantum physics.)

bttt


30 posted on 12/22/2008 5:57:00 AM PST by Matchett-PI ("Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is anti-liberty" - Gagdad)
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To: outlawjake
so stewart’s character can then relinquish all his pent up animosity for choosing a selfless life.. and foregoing his dream.. coz the life he has lived was actually better..

This is the realization that Wendell Jamieson has still not had. He thinks that his life will be best if he can string together enough fun experiences as possible. Life is good if he can go to the right club, be seen at the right party, or sleep with the right girl (presumably). Everything is just one long party, because he has never known need.

Who knows? Maybe Mr. Jamieson can go on like that his whole life, and the wolf will never be at his door. That would be nice, because if Mr. Wolf does show up, Mr. Jamieson is not going to have a clue what to do.

I think of the scene in the movie where the Baileys are moving Mr. Martini's family into their new house. They give them three gifts: Bread - so the house will never know hunger, Salt - so life will always have flavor, and Wine - so that good times and happiness will be theirs. But notice, the first gift is bread. This talk of starvation is immediately contrasted with Sam Wainwright, with his flashy girlfriend and sleek chaffuer-driven limousine. George Bailey is left with nothing but his beat up old car and Mary. Of course, Mary is Mary, so that is enough.

With everything that is going on with the economy, these days, the Mr. Wolf is closer to the door than he has been in a long, long time. As I was telling My Favorite Liberal the other day, it is a good time to be an Ant. We have been cautious with our money, saving and diversifying and doing all the things you should do, and now we are in a situation where we can weather these times with a fair amount of confidence. We have been Ants. Meanwhile, a lot of our friends have been Grasshoppers, leveraging their houses, spending like there is no tomorrow, and pursuing lucrative, but speculative, career paths. For the Grasshoppers, things are looking pretty bad, these days.

George Bailey was the Ultimate Ant. And when times got tough, he got through, as ants always do.

31 posted on 12/22/2008 6:00:09 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: 7thson
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation.

The author is either mentally ill or evil. And I'm not kidding.

32 posted on 12/22/2008 6:00:24 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: 7thson
It was stolen by Old Man Potter. It should be he prosecueted for larceny.

Agreed.

33 posted on 12/22/2008 6:03:39 AM PST by Publius Valerius
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To: gridlock
The notion that anybody would have to struggle to put bread on the table is as foreign as stories of isolated head-hunter tribes of the South Pacific.

Funny confession, but I am actually closer to my dad now that I am a "veteran" of a half dozen WWII FPS games. It is one thing to hear the light hearted stories of life fifty years ago, but quite another to even fictionally brush shoulders with those events and times. (I don't know how to explain this as respectfully as I feel it.)

In one of the games, in a really weird Twilight-Zone kinda moment, the main character (you) is being driven around Pearl Harbor, your new BOA, and I'm listening to the computer character CEO telling me about Pearl. You have 360 head movement as the Jeep goes past bucolic scenes of guys playing baseball, nurses going to work, and you are saying to yourself "I know that any minute now, Japanese Zeros are coming over the horizon, and the game won't let me tell anybody."

In a funny way, I'd like every cool, smirking high school boy to play these games, but they probably wouldn't get the same thing out of them I did.

34 posted on 12/22/2008 6:04:25 AM PST by 50sDad (On the Left, compassion is measured by intent, not results.)
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To: Le Chien Rouge
`....but I always had a thing for Donna Reed!!!

June Cleaver, baby! Pearls, high heels and vacumming. Doesn't get better than that.

35 posted on 12/22/2008 6:06:55 AM PST by 50sDad (On the Left, compassion is measured by intent, not results.)
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To: gridlock

I guess it is the difference between people who have known hard times and people who have not.


May the coming hard times be an opportunity for all...........


36 posted on 12/22/2008 6:08:10 AM PST by PeterPrinciple ( Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: Matchett-PI

Wow! Did you compose that post/research paper just for me? That was a very good read.


37 posted on 12/22/2008 6:10:53 AM PST by demshateGod (the GOP is dead to me)
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To: gridlock
If you have grown up in the last thirty years, you have known nothing but wealth and opportunity at every turn.

Nonsense.

38 posted on 12/22/2008 6:11:40 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Hey, I am not saying that some individuals have not managed to screw up. But, generally speaking, the last 30 years have been a time of uninterrupted wealth and opportunity.


39 posted on 12/22/2008 6:16:21 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: 50sDad
In one of the games..the main character (you) is being driven around Pearl Harbor

I certainly don't want to hijack this thread, but; what game is this?

40 posted on 12/22/2008 6:26:18 AM PST by laotzu
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To: demshateGod

“Wow! Did you compose that post/research paper just for me? That was a very good read.” ~ demshateGod

I merely posted something from Gagdad Bob’s blog. If you liked that, you’ll like what I posted just above it here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2152577/posts?page=24#24

I keep a personal archive of a lot of his writings because I like the way he thinks and agree with him on many things.

Name a subject, and I can pretty much provide you with something he has written about it. :)


41 posted on 12/22/2008 6:29:10 AM PST by Matchett-PI ("Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is anti-liberty" - Gagdad)
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To: gridlock
You really think nobody in the US during the past 30 years has faced real hardship ... or that anybody who has, did so because he "screwed up"?

Fascinating ...

42 posted on 12/22/2008 6:44:56 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: laotzu

Dang, they all meld together...it had Pacific in the title, and was one of those multi-level shooters. Anybody?


43 posted on 12/22/2008 6:49:00 AM PST by 50sDad (On the Left, compassion is measured by intent, not results.)
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To: Matchett-PI

Kipling got there first and did it in rhyme:

Socialism: “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”
Welfare: “An Imperial Rescript”
Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency: “The Grave of Hundred Heads”
Dealing with Muslims after you beaten them: “Kitchener’s School”


44 posted on 12/22/2008 6:53:40 AM PST by Little Ray (Do we have a Plan B?)
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To: outlawjake

It’s a Wonderful Life is my all time favorite movie to watch just before Christmas. We often get so stressed with all the work and commercialism connected with Christmas, we often forget, (or at least I seem to), what is most important in life. Then I pop in the DVD and get myself on track again. Works everytime!

The first time I saw this film as a teenager, I fell in love with Jimmy Stewart and wanted to marry a George Bailey of my own. And I did!


45 posted on 12/22/2008 7:00:38 AM PST by senorita
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To: laotzu

Medal of Honor - Pacific Assault, I believe.


46 posted on 12/22/2008 7:01:18 AM PST by 50sDad (On the Left, compassion is measured by intent, not results.)
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To: Matchett-PI
I am not as well-read as you as I have no idea who Schuon or some of the others - besides Chesterton - you refer to. I also haven't read all of this post but this paragraph stuck out. I have always been amazed by writers - such as Chesterton, Ayn Rand, Heinlen, and others who write about their future which is now our today and get so many things right. I concluded years ago it was because the writers logically followed the leftist course and came to the conclusion of life as it faces us today. I hope that makes sense. Merry Christmas.

Schuon would agree with Chesterton that the leftist is “really the enemy of the human race ­ because he is so human.” Of all the animals, only a human being can sink beneath himself ­ and even beneath the animals. And he does so primarily by imagining that an animal is all he is, for when human intelligence is in the service of animal instinct, the result is hell on earth ­ and bear in mind that Chesterton was writing before the great atheistic movements of the 20th century ­ the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, et al, so he clearly grasped the principle before it actually played out in history.

47 posted on 12/22/2008 7:02:12 AM PST by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: 7thson
A few misreadings of what's in the movie:

That night George humiliates his future wife, Mary (Donna Reed), by forcing her to hide behind a bush naked

Anybody who can't tell Mary is enjoying herself immensely throughout this sexually charged sequence just isn't paying attention. She's not humiliated in the least.

George again treats Mary cruelly, this time by chewing her out and bringing her to tears before kissing her.

This "long distance" sequence is among the most erotic ever filmed, IMO. George is struggling against the tender trap Mary is clamping down around him. She's perfectly well aware of why he's acting the way he is, and she's perfectly in control. She wants George and she gets him.

I interpret it instead as showing the true characters of these individuals, their venal internal selves stripped bare.

Kinda judgmental, ain't he? More so than George, anyway.

He even noticed that the only entertainment in the real town ... is “The Bells of St. Mary’s.”

It's Christmas Eve. People are home with their families instead of out on the town getting drunk. Sheesh.

“The reason is that it is a resort, and it has built an economy around that,” he said. “Meanwhile the great industrial cities have declined terrifically. Look at Connecticut: where is the growth? It’s in casinos; they are constantly expanding.”

Uhh, the author is several months out of date. So far, the hardest hit city in America is Vegas. When you're hurting financially, discretionary spending goes first. Nothing is more discretionary than a weekend in Vegas.

Fifteen years old and imagining myself an angry young man, I got all choked up.

Despite himself, it appears in the final analysis that he gets at least this much. George Bailey has led a far richer and more fulfilled life than Wendell Jamiesen.

48 posted on 12/22/2008 7:03:58 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: 7thson
Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking.

Yes, Pottersville does capture that "excitement" George wanted -- but when he experiences it, it's horrible, not satisfying.

Youthful dreams may be one thing, but George Bailey was the most loved and respected man it town, and that really is a wonderful life.

49 posted on 12/22/2008 7:05:03 AM PST by kevkrom (Merry Christmas!)
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To: PeterPrinciple

You are so right! People who have never had to struggle in life cannot comprehend what true happiness and success is. Only time and experience can change that.


50 posted on 12/22/2008 7:07:00 AM PST by senorita
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