This New American Life
I write this in a booth waiting for my current delivery order to be prepared in an empty restaurant that ten years ago would have been crowded. The music is a soft bossa nova and the kitchen while busy is careful to avoid clangs. The decor is standard a medium brown stain colors the wood and the carpet is green and clean. A mother and her retired son are the only other customers. She is dancing while waiting for the spring rolls to arrive. The owner hands me a thai tea on the house while I wait. I can’t help but worry for the fate of America. I can’t help but wonder where do we go from here.
The internet has redefined what and why we eat. It’s less about what we like and having haunts we return to but posting from the current trends to be considered a cool kid. Even those who do not post on social media still Google and Yelp their choices based on the impression that the best rated by those apps have more value experience wise for their dollars. The hive mind that is social media causes attention inequality and narrows culture especially food culture.
Speaking of the Hive Mind. What do we talk about when we say we shouldn’t give someone a platform. As in the current uproar over Megyn Kelly interviewing Alex Jones, a man who has been paid to spew filth since my childhood. He long ago built his alternative media platform and give a place for wayward views. He helped Trump win without a doubt and his org Infowars will have white house press credentials. He doesn’t need an interview on NBC but NBC and those who oppose his views do need these kinds of interviews. Darkness cannot be allowed to fester. Pre-internet denying mainstream outlets was a good way to slow repulsive thought but now mainstream media is one if the last shared spaces in American life and is more effective as a means of exposing.
The tendency of the internet to drive conformity from food and fashion trends to preventing public discourse is disconcerting to say the least. Humanity’s story is one driven by innovation through diversity not just the kind on a college application check box. How much have we lost? What will it take next?
We all know the Orwell cliche “who controls the past controls the future and who controls the future controls the present”. The left certainly has in a fifty year war on history.
To begin we must discuss the evolution of the progressive ideology in America. The progressives of the Theodore Roosevelt age fought for a silver standard, temperance, and for small business. One of the lions of the age, William Jennings Bryant faced his Waterloo in the Scopes trial (he stood against evolution). Liberalism and progressivism formed a coalition under FDR that birthed the new deal.
The red scare of the 50’s forced the progressives underground and ended the golden age of progressive force. Like a cicada, they re-emerged in the 60’s in Academia as a small but vocal facility faction. These professors like Howard Zinn began reshaping American history through a marxist lens. The baby boomers came of age making up little under half the population. More went to college than any previous generation. Under the tutelage of the socialist leaning professors, they became righteous acolytes. This was the beginning of the new left. When the personal became political. The Vietnam draft only pushed more youths to seek refuge in the left from dying in a pointless war.
Reagan marked a key moment, separating the true believers from the rest. By the end of Reagan, P.C. Culture had been born from the next generation of academia. Teachers and professors lionized by their mentors moved American education to the left but while CEOs remained perennial boogeymen. P.C. Culture directed progressives away from the growing wealth inequality in America and focused instead on abstract academic concepts on race, gender, and sex. Based on victimization, the PC outlook took Nietzsche’s slave mentality to its logical conclusion. By 2007, this outlook would dominate the Democrat coalition. Even in the aftermath of a global economic meltdown, wealth never became a priority for the new progressives.
America had and has on going systematic issues involving race, gender, and sex. Those issues need to be solved but they are far from the most pressing issues, which would be a fair economy and access to healthcare for all. In fact, I would say PC culture is responsible for the current level of tribalism and partisanship in America. This was done through the revision of history no longer a grand narrative of the course of civilizations but an endless list of grievances. We no longer learn the story of America as much as we learn of every wrong action taken by white men who are rich for the most part.
Worst our enemies are absolved as victims. Take this op-ed on North Korea published in the Washington Post. You would never have guessed that NK started the war. It spins the Kim family’s cruelty towards those under their rule as an American war crime. If NK surrendered, the air strikes wouldn’t have killed so much of the population. If the air strikes stopped before surrender, NK would have been able to overwhelm the American forces and slaughter the people of the south.
But does the modern progressive movement control the future? They certainly believe that they will through demographical shifts. As their views narrow and become dogmatic their influence will wain. Liberalism in all its messiness will return as people seek freedom. Conservatism is changing with the population as well. American history swings towards freedom and truth. We must rebuff all movements that want to take those values.
One woman proclaims identity politics will save the democrats and by proxy America.
The Atlantic lambasted his inaugural address for being too dark.
I frothed at Trump’s convention acceptance speech, it was the call of a dictator. The bellicose voice raging for law and order that stemmed from him and him alone.
We saw a different man swear the oath. He spoke of returning Washington to the people. Rhetoric not matched by his cabinet picks. Is he still unqualified and indifferent to that fact? Yes. Still a threat through his conflicts of interest? Yes. Will any unconstitutional action be fought? Yes. But when we been attacking every action we become the problem. If we believe that our elections have meaning. If we hold our republic dear. We make the government work.
Democrats must give up federal gun control. It is best left as a local matter. Democrats need to expand their geographical horizons. Get serious in discussing internal investment.
All of us must sacrifice for the republic whether it be taxes, investing through higher wages in our neighbors. Accept many if not most Americans are hurting from a vast number if issues but inequality brings us all down. By resolving inequality the people will have more ability to enact change through monetary power.
Jihad is growing and changing. Russia wants us to become savages under Trump. China is changing. Our current phase of timid imperialism has come to an end. The allies of NATO can pay the 2% for their share. It is still a bargain. The UN must go the way of the League of Nations and be rechartered for the age of multinational nonstate actors from terrorist to corporation.
Do I think Trump is the right man? I sure as hell didn’t vote for him. He got the job anyway and he must do what’s required.
Two pieces in the NY Times, I wish to discuss: California and Mandatory Voting.
An op-ed by an Australian illustrates the inability of the global elite to understand regional differences between peoples. His claim that mandatory voting moderates elections is really a reflection on the Australian character. Their treatment of refugees inspires Trump. Their treatment of race such as the unironic use of black face on national television fits into the views of the American alt-right.
Compulsory voting doesn’t stop voter ID laws and other attempts to stop turnout just adds punishment to those who fail to comply. If fear of fines is the motivating factor in minority turnout as he suggests then western nations have failed to assimilate outside communities.
Compulsory voting also is not inherently more democratic because more people vote in the final election. If citizens don’t participate in the primary process and the ballot question process (most sigs are bought for questions and funded by pacs) then is filling out a ballot truly a measure of civic engagement.
The act of the government enforcing voting is unconstitutional. We are the government and it represents us rather than the reverse as in order countries. Our rights do not come from elected officials as implied by compulsory voting advocates. The anger of Trump voters comes from active civic participation being perceived as ignored by long time voters and Trump inspired many to vote for the first time. His victory was not because he inspired a small GOP base but others outside the classic Republican coalition. A fact that the global elite appear incapable of understanding.
In California, the state is acting like Antebellum south believing their will and stances greater than their fellow citizens. Particularly Sheila Kuehl a member of the LA county board of supervisors who quote “I said ‘If you have to lie, cheat and steal, do it…Take federal money and just tell them you are going to do whatever they want.” That’s terrible to say as a private citizen outrageous to say as an elected American official. No one is above federal law. Think of the outrage Texas received when they played that role to Obama. A democracy is not one ideology system and to act as such as hinted at by California undermines our nation and empowers authoritarianism. Forget the fear of being cut out of Trump’s privatized infrastructure program (it will have no reward for the public). Fear the national guard coming down in ways Obama feared to act. There’ll be more death than in Ohio before 2020.
Please see Day 15 for my thoughts on DeVos and school choice.
Today I want to talk about the disastrous confirmation hearing DeVos gave yesterday. It is one thing to hold a controversial view but another to push a viewpoint without basic knowledge of the subject.
As I have mentioned before I am an American with disabilities. My medical condition doesn’t interfere with my job duties but I wouldn’t have been able to graduate high school without IDEA. It allowed me to receive an education that accommodated my physical challenges. I was lucky to be in a school district that truly supported their special needs students but I know not all kids are as lucky.
That DeVos doesn’t understand that IDEA, a 40 year old federal law exists while trying to be in charge of its enforcement is disturbing. Her boilerplate answer of states and “locales” rights to most questions leaves not an impression of a true conservative but an ignorant one who cannot defend their own arguments. Tim Kaine’s criticism that people should have to move states to receive a fair education is a valid counterpoint to a moorless statement that she repeated like a parrot in response. She would be in charge of ensuring critical thinking and analysis is being successfully taught.
This isn’t about if money should be able to buy influence. This is about a system where money is equated to intelligence. That stems from the modern concept of the meritocracy. Just because people have resources the act of having doesn’t make them smarter or more deserving to be heard. Actions speak louder than dollars to both capability and understanding. Letting DeVos control American education because she wants a pet project moves us closer to a Banana Republic.
I know many on the left will give this post title an eyeroll but I must speak about the two wars on Christmas: one waged by the secular leftists and the other from Radical Islam. The left has long sought to undermine the separation of church and state by submitting religion to federal control. People must petition Congress for religious exemptions. That is not what this country was founded on. The government does not grant us rights. Our religious institutions Christian or other are not granted passage by Big Government. This is why battles over the building of Mosques disturbs me. It isn’t for the President or the selectmen to decide. We do not have the right to stop peaceful worship if they own the property or at least have legal access. I believe both the the left and the right have assaulted our religious rights.
The war on the Western world from Radical Islam is a clash of civilizations. Christianity and Islam can and do coexist in Western Civilization. Not that there aren’t conflicts between religious groups under liberal order but our values as a society push us towards unity and respect. Radical Islam under its strict literal theology cannot exist within the West. It’s practice goes against all of our values. If the West is defined as uncertain and fluid then Radical Islam is defined by the opposite. The temptation is it promises a known purpose in life. In the West, religion and work (our institutions of purpose) have been under attack by the political elite. The resulting society promotes unlimited freedom by removing dedication and devotion as values. Purpose limits choice. True freedom is being adrift in space without a footing to stand on. People want to have a purpose, at some level we need it. As the work that gave employee’s pride is automated, a pillar of society teeters. We don’t need more stuff to throw away, we need more purpose in our days. I have been told of a notion where freedom from work allows us to achieve higher purposes. I don’t agree with it. An attempt by the left to marginalize people’s lives. Autowork gives more back to the community than art and is no less noble. That’s the problem with the Progressive goal to achieve the end of history. People want to be a part of their lineage, not escape it.
The converts to the radical civilizations (Radical Islam and Neo-Nazis are just the most aggressive) flee the increasingly inhuman West shedding its values without replacing them. Multiculturalism isn’t a value as much as the absence of one. The American Melting Pot wasn’t a place where you kept your way of life as much as subvert your rituals to the American way. You came to America to be American. Immigrants make America great by becoming American. Entangling the threads of their traditions into our quilt. The american ethnicity is multiracial and our DNA is global but at our heart we are all brothers and sisters under and for the Republic and all for which it stands. In reading the Atlantic review of “Silence”, one would assume Art was created outside of religion when until recent history it was a tool of faith. The reviewer believes taking religion seriously is radical. I find that to be belittling to say that the ancient mysteries of religion especially the inevitability of suffering were not a legitimate source of Art. The left has turned tradition radical. Until the liberal order reclaims its history it will be on the losing end of a war they refuse to admit exists.