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Unexpected Results

“We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected.”

Excerpt From: F. A. Hayek. “The Road to Serfdom.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/vAe3H.l

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Liberty and Liberalism

“The fact that this book was originally written with only the British public in mind does not appear to have seriously affected its intelligibility for the American reader. But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term “liberal” in the original, nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftish movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that “liberal” has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservatives.”

“It is true, of course, that in the struggle against the believers in the all-powerful state the true liberal must sometimes make common cause with the conservative, and in some circumstances, as in contemporary Britain, he has hardly any other way of actively working for his ideals. But true liberalism is still distinct from conservatism, and there is danger in the two being confused. Conservatism, though a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place. A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power of government for the protection of privilege. The essence of the liberal position, however, is the denial of all privilege, if privilege is understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights “to some which are not available on equal terms to others.”

Excerpt From: F. A. Hayek. “The Road to Serfdom.” University of Chicago Press, 2010-04-06. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/vAe3H.l

This recalls:

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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Nobel Peace Prize Nominees in Charleston

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From Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal, Two Miracles in Charleston:

That was the first miracle, the amazing grace that pierced the hearers’ hearts—in America, in 2015, at an alleged murderer’s bail hearing in a plain, homely courtroom. Christian churches and their believers are used to being patronized or mocked as silly, ignorant or hypocritical. They often don’t mind, often laugh along with the joke. But these were public statements that laid out the essence of Christianity, unedited and undiluted, and you couldn’t laugh or scoff. You could only feel awe and ask yourself: “If I were that person in those circumstances, would I be great too?”

Within days, something else wholly unexpected happened. A tough old knot became untied. Something people had been fighting about for a long time was suddenly about to be resolved. The murders at the church, and what was said by the relatives of the dead, prompted the rejection of the Confederate battle flag in gentle, kindly, heartfelt words.

The Nobel Peace Prize committee, if they know it, have some new nominees: the relatives of the dead who offered the mercy that relaxed the hands of those who’d been holding, too tight, to a flag.

Everyone thinks progress depends on indignation, accusation, aggression, demonstration, marching. But we just saw anger lose to love. It’s a huge moment.

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Forgive, Hell!

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From The New York Times, Why I Can’t Forgive Dylann Roof by Roxane Gay:

Excerpt:

The call for forgiveness is a painfully familiar refrain when black people suffer. White people embrace narratives about forgiveness so they can pretend the world is a fairer place than it actually is, and that racism is merely a vestige of a painful past instead of this indelible part of our present.

Black people forgive because we need to survive. We have to forgive time and time again while racism or white silence in the face of racism continues to thrive. We have had to forgive slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, lynching, inequity in every realm, mass incarceration, voter disenfranchisement, inadequate representation in popular culture, microaggressions and more. We forgive and forgive and forgive and those who trespass against us continue to trespass against us.

Mr. Roof’s racism was blunt and raggedly formed. It was bred by a culture in which we constantly have to shout “Black lives matter!” because there is so much evidence to the contrary. This terrorist was raised in this culture. He made racist jokes with his friends. He shared his plans with his roommate. It’s much easier to introduce forgiveness into the conversation than to sit with that reality and consider all who are complicit.

What white people are really asking for when they demand forgiveness from a traumatized community is absolution. They want absolution from the racism that infects us all even though forgiveness cannot reconcile America’s racist sins. They want absolution from their silence in the face of all manner of racism, great and small. They want to believe it is possible to heal from such profound and malingering trauma because to face the openness of the wounds racism has created in our society is too much. I, for one, am done forgiving.

HKO

The response from the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the city of Charleston, and the Governor was somber and morally inspiring in a way that stands in strong contrast to the likes of Ferguson where the racism was more implied than blatant.  In Charleston it was the real deal.

Charleston was a shock to me because I stood in awe of the progress made in race in America and especially in the South.  I would not deny it is still there, but I would also not deny the incredible progress made, even in the face of this tragedy. The New South is is witnessing a reverse migration from the Jim Crow years as todays blacks are finding better opportunities.

Perhaps as the racist element has been so defeated and humiliated they become more daring and more dangerous.  Or perhaps this is just another disturbed sociopathic loner who found an excuse in his white supremacism.  Hatred needs an excuse more than a reason. Or perhaps I have grossly overestimated and overstated the progress we have made.

If this were a neo Nazi or a Islamic fanatic killing Jews in a synagogue uttering his bigoted  screed as he murdered I would feel the same as Ms. Gay.  There would not be a forgiving bone in my body. There is no forgiveness in my soul for the terrorist murderers in Paris, Mumbai, and the hundreds of other places.

Like Roxane Gay, I am Ok with that.

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Middle Class Squeeze

from 15 Statistics That Destroy Liberal Narratives by John Hawkins in Townhall:

Sentier Research, a firm led by former census officials, used census data to tabulate an estimate of the median household income — how much is earned by families at the exact middle of the nation’s income distribution. In June 2014, it found in a report issued Wednesday, the median household income was $53,891, down from $55,589 in inflation-adjusted dollars when the economic expansion began in June 2009. The economic paradox isn’t much of a paradox at all in this light: The purchasing power of the typical American family is 3.1 percent lower now than it was five years ago. No wonder people are unhappy about the economy! The benefits of rising levels of economic activity have simply not accrued to middle-income wage earners. – Neil Irwin