from David Daley in Salon, Camille Paglia takes on Jon Stewart, Trump, Sanders: “Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!”
I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.
Exactly what are these people offering in place of religion?
From Rand Simberg at PJ Media, How Republics Die:
But the Founders foresaw this sort of thing. That is why they put a provision into the founding document to deal with it. The proper way to address the issue, in terms of making SSM universal, was not to manufacture a new right from the Constitution, but rather to amend it. But that is something that hasn’t happened in a long time, because it is (rightly) difficult to do, and the Congress, the courts and the public have become too impatient, and prefer to sidestep it (which in fact has happened in, among other things, the federal War on Drugs, which somehow didn’t seem to require an amendment even though the prohibition of alcohol did).
The Constitution was meant to be the bedrock of laws, and the laws were to be enacted by the Congress, and signed by the president, not ignored or superseded by the president, or rewritten by the chief justice, to satisfy their own preferences, or those of others, even a majority. We are neither a tyranny of men, or that of a majority. As has often been told, when Benjamin Franklin came out of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him, “Mr. Franklin, what have you given us?” His reply: “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”
When we ignore and side step the Constitutional and legal process to achieve a desired end, the bedrock starts to turn to sand. When the laws are ignored by those who have sworn to uphold or review them, the rule of law itself disintegrates. When the public doesn’t care, or understand the role of the branches of government, but votes anyway for people who tell them they’ll just give them stuff they like, that is how republics are lost.
from The Sunday New York Time Book Review, Revolutionary Roads by George Packer; a review of By the People by Charles Murray and Wages of Rebellion by Chris Hedges:
But the most interesting aspect of these two books is where their authors overlap. Both are appalled by the collusion between the federal government and corporations. Both describe the legal system as essentially lawless. Neither has any faith that electoral politics, the three branches of government or the Constitution itself can make a difference. Neither fits with any sizable faction of either of the two parties. Both despise elites. Both are willing, even eager, to see Americans break the law, in nonviolent ways, to force change.
At times Murray and Hedges sound exactly the same. “It is part of our national catechism that government is instituted to protect our unalienable rights, and that when it becomes destructive of those rights, the reason for our allegiance is gone. At that point, revolution is not treason, but the people’s right,” says Murray, though it could be Hedges. “Appealing to the judicial, legislative or executive branches of government in the hope of reform is as realistic as accepting the offer made by the March Hare during the Mad Tea-Party,” writes Hedges, pulling off a pretty good Murray. What the historian Michael Kazin calls “the populist persuasion” is as old as the country, and its language has been deployed in different eras by radicals and reactionaries alike, though a characteristic of our own time is that they are doing it simultaneously.
Our elites have led us to a dead end, but our populists, barricaded in their corners, lack the clarity of vision to find a way out. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll get better elites anytime soon. In the absence of a revolution, we have to hope for better populists.
from the New York Times Sunday June 28, 2015, All in the Family Guys- an interview with Set McFarlane and Norman Lear:
SM: Not today. If you make a thoughtful statement, or even ask a question about an uncomfortable subject today, you are pounced on by a thousand different media outlets that will eat you for breakfast.
PG: Because it’s not P.C.?
SM: Partially, but it’s more than that. There’s a whole industry that piles on, and it’s a harmful industry because it’s made people resistant to speak their minds. It doesn’t matter what you believe personally if they can fix their mold of what they want you to be.
NL: America’s biggest export is excess. We are excessive about everything. And we’ve become consumers of excess rather than citizens. Media doesn’t inform so much as it argues, bumper-sticker-style. Context is everything, and we get very little context now. We just get the “Boom!”