Skip to comments.LOSING OUR DELUSIONS: Not Much Left (Despondent Liberal on state of Liberalism)
Posted on 02/17/2005 6:31:56 PM PST by pissant
click here to read article
1.A friend of my wife gave her a subscription to the New Republic and I felt it a duty to skim through it weekly rather than toss it in the can. Sheer torture. What came through was their inchoate longing for a return to the first days of the revolution where they could set things right and everybody would be singing from the same proletarian song book. Oh, if Trotsky were still here they cry.
2.A few weeks ago Peter Beinart(the Editor) tried to outline a plan for the party (Democrat not SWP) but as Limbaugh says they cannot really say what they are or what they are for. It is the perfect neurosis. They know they are evil and dare not admit it, even to themselves.
Pose this question at an Upper West Side dinner party: What was worse, Nazism or Communism? Surely, the answer will be Nazism ... because Communism had an ideal of the good. This, despite the fact that communist revolutions and communist regimes murdered ever so many more millions of innocents and transformed the yearning of many idealists for equality into the brutal assertion of evil, a boot stamping on the human face forever.
Ain't too many liberals who will admit that.
Peter Beinart has argued, also in these pages ("A Fighting Faith," December 13, 2004), the case for a vast national and international mobilization against Islamic fanaticism and Arab terrorism. It is typologically the same people who wanted the United States to let communism triumph--in postwar Italy and Greece, in mid-cold war France and late-cold war Portugal--who object to U.S. efforts right now in the Middle East. You hear the schadenfreude in their voices--you read it in their words--at our troubles in Iraq. For months, liberals have been peddling one disaster scenario after another, one contradictory fact somehow reinforcing another, hoping now against hope that their gloomy visions will come true.
I happen to believe that they won't. This will not curb the liberal complaint. That complaint is not a matter of circumstance. It is a permanent affliction of the liberal mind. It is not a symptom; it is a condition. And it is a condition related to the desperate hopes liberals have vested in the United Nations. That is their lodestone. But the lodestone does not perform. It is not a magnet for the good. It performs the magic of the wicked. It is corrupt, it is pompous, it is shackled to tyrants and cynics. It does not recognize a genocide when the genocide is seen and understood by all.
Good Lord, the man is a heretic.
Liberalism now needs to be liberated from many of its own illusions and delusions. Let's hope we still have the strength.
I would hope so too. We could use some honest liberals. But as my newspaper friend told me, the cure for the Vietnam liberalism that infests the Dems is nothing short of death. They are not going to change. Which means the Dems still have several decades left of roaming in the wilderness, until they are gone.
Thanks for the ping.
This is the heart of liberalism. Their undying belief that people are generally too stupid to take care of themselves, and that collectivism is the natural order of things. I remember watching a Bill Clinton speech a few years ago and he lamented that the republicans were going to leave people to "fend for themselves." I yelled at the TV, "Some people call that freedom, you moron!"
I find it amazing that the left today is struggling to find their core belief system, their message. If they are so opposed to conservatism, which stands for the private property rights and the power of the free market, which requires less taxation, less regulation and less litigation, then surely it should be obvious to them that they are for the opposite ... MORE taxation, MORE regulation, and MORE litigation and less private property rights. But they can't face that fact because they know it's an electoral loser. So they have to find a different message that will enable them to regain power without having to tell the voters who they are.
I don't believe he's saying "we still need Affirmative Action". Instead, he's saying "we need better public education".
Nearly two years have passed since that ruling and virtually nothing has been done to make sure that children of color--and other children, too, since the crisis in our educational system cuts across race and class--are receiving a different and better type of schooling, in science and in literacy, than those now coming into our colleges. This is not about Head Start. This is about a wholesale revamping of teaching and learning. The conservatives have their ideas, and many of them are good, such as charter schools and even vouchers. But give me a single liberal idea with some currency, even a structural notion, for transforming the elucidation of knowledge and thinking to the young. You can't.
I believe we conservatives would agree with Peretz in every regard. In fact, he's giving us credit for having the ideas. And attacking liberals, sotto voce, for their slavish obeisance to the teachers' unions and urban 'special interests'.
I appreciate his optimism.
"People who are voluntarily obliged to each other across classes and races, professions and ethnicities, tend to trust each other"
Voluntarily being the operative word here.
"That complaint is not a matter of circumstance. It is a permanent affliction of the liberal mind."
He's merely saying conservatives have ideas, not that he agrees with them...or he'd have SAID that.
This is the great divide between modern liberals and classical liberals, because, IMO, the current labels of conservative and liberal do not apply here, given the recent fondness of the GOP for large-scale federal educational initiatives. The modern liberal sees this divide as something you can throw laws and money at to change. The classical liberal realizes that most of the problem is cultural - and that just ain't a black problem, it's a big problem with white kids as well (I know, I used to be one). The youth peer culture disparages kids who try to achieve - except for Asians, where the kids do the opposite. And gee golly whiz, guess who is kicking fanny in the educational arena?
So how do you address that issue if you are a modern liberal? Well, you spend more tax dollars and mandate tests to determine ... that Asian kids are still kicking fanny.
Changing attitudes is the hardest thing for a government to do. And with the no-fault mentality of modern liberalism, it becomes impossible to even try, because you are then making a judgement on the relative merits of cultures. And that's a big no-no. Which is something the author didn't even touch upon.
Wow, a thoughtful liberal. Look quick. They're almost extinct.
I thought he did.
The conservatives have their ideas, and many of them are good, such as charter schools and even vouchers.
"Good" isn't quite the same as "agree". But, in this context, it's pretty close.
And I'd submit that we agree with Peretz in principle that "this is about a wholesale revamping of teaching and learning". But I'd also agree with you that Peretz wouldn't agree with us about how to accomplish the revamping.
I remember reading 'Moral Man, Immoral Society' in college. It was required text for a Religious Studies course at Penn State, believe it or not. The idea behind the title can be boiled down to one example (in Niebuhr's thinking): the execution of a murderer.
It's a cultural problem. And it's a structural problem.
The cultural problem also involves the parents. The ideal circumstance is a two-parent family with one wage-earner. That used to be the default arrangement. Now, it's a single-parent family or, if its a two-parent family, the kid is still consigned to daycare or latchkey status. In either event, less than ideal.
While they can still be overcome, a high proportion of kids today are handicapped by their circumstances.
And it's structural because the Colleges of Education are spewing out ill-trained (but highly indoctrinated) teachers who can't teach. They have been trained as "facilitators" (Lord, I hate that word), but are ignorant when it comes to knowledge of the subjects they must teach. That circumstance is, doubtless, because their teachers are ignorant.
And it's structural because the never-ending quest for centralization (and race mixing in the name of "diversity") has created gigantic, unmanageable temples of chaos. These replaced (and destroyed) the comfortable neighborhood school, which so involved children, parents, teachers and an administrator in one social fabric woven of trust and familiarity.
In that respect, there's nothing wrong with public education that a few truckloads of dynamite wouldn't fix.
And, if schools returned to the neighborhoods, I wonder what impact that would have on the culture...???
Bussing was one of the Great American Mistakes in history. It changed the direction and focus, the very goal, of public education. For the worse. And, perhaps, forever. Noting that it was the unintended (and inevitable) consequence of a liberal "good deed" doesn't make it any more palatable...
Outstanding article! Thanks for posting it. Thanks to Martin Peretz for writing it!
This is an unbelievable admission from a liberal about his own party, the Democrat Party.
I, and many others around here, noted long ago that the Democrats were silently begging not only for an economic recession in which people lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings, but for lots and lots of filled body bags to come home from Iraq. It was clear that the Democrats figured their election prospects improved with such tragedies. We all shook our heads and wondered just how sick the Democrats were....
And here, along comes this author to confirm our suspicions - - the Democrats were, and remain, sicker than Dahmer's vomit.
That's a huge part of the issue. But I came from a two-parent home, had a comfortable middle-class existence, went to a school without busing - but there still was a pronounced peer culture that belittled kids who tried to achieve. And that, IMO, is just as huge an impediment, especially in the black community, as all the higher-level social pathologies. And it is the hardest to solve, given that patholotical youth peer cultures, by nature, react negatively against efforts by authority figures to change them.
It is an oversimplification approaching cant to use the P word - paradigm - in political discussion, but I think Peretz may have reduced a good deal of liberal fluff to a couple of base ideas that even he has not thoroughly examined.
Still, liberals know that the right's ideologically framed--but class-motivated--retreat of the government from the economy must be resisted.
Now we have the C word - class - and therein lies one of the major difficulties with current liberal doctrine - an overdependence on Marxian class theory as the unmoved mover of society. In point of fact, it isn't so much the democratization of capitalism that is the signal accomplishment of American economy, it is the degree to which class mobility renders class itself obsolete as a means of understanding social dynamics. This is truly heresy, but I think it deserves serious consideration.
There is nothing wrong, necessarily, with an emphasis on the group protecting and enabling its constituent individuals, which is the liberal emphasis (the conservative emphasis, contrarily, is that the individual protects and empowers the group, equally valid and more appealing to the individualist). Where this goes wrong is the insistence that the group properly describes everything important about its constituents and that they have little reality outside it. It is this assumption that leads the liberal to insist that a black man who is a CEO of a major corporation and living in a million-dollar mansion is "oppressed," not by virtue of his considerable individual accomplishments but by virtue of class membership.
That's the fallacy of class theory, and until the liberals examine and modify it they will be at the mercy of an antiquated, disproven ideology whether they succeed in winning an election or not.
Reality is finally making a dent in some of the libs consciousness, though they still have a long, long way to go. Proof of this is the selection of Howie as their leader.
The other problem that will take them a long time to overcome (if ever) is their congenital ignorance of economics. The following passage provides the evidence:
"This is the dizzying specter of economic competition from China, whose hold on U.S. Treasury bonds leaves the dollar vulnerable to a tremendous decline should China decide to sell them."
It also illustrates the shallowness of their thinking, because if he had thought about this statement for another second he would have realized that China would be cutting their own throat if they dumped all the treasuries.
But they do seem to have a terrible time dealing with an approach to China. Even *I* can see that were China to knock out the US, its own economy would tumble. The only reason they would have to hurt us would be if they intended to take us over in one fell swoop without destroying our infrastructure and natural resources.
One benefit of the Iraq war is to show our rivals how difficult it would be for them to take over any country not in their back yard.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.