Bill Kristol: Author of His Own Future Misfortune?

It highlighted what surfaced last year in the election; a very strong disaffection by the white working class towards the new upper class, fueled in large part, in substantial part by the open contempt and disdain that the new upper class has for the working class, and especially for the white working class, and most especially for the white male working class.

William Kristol, founding editor of The Weekly Standard, neo-conservative (a.k.a. member of any war party), pretentious  pseudo-intellectual, and a living facsimile of Rich Uncle Pennybags in the spirit of Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt (1922), apparently failed to pick up on his colleague Charles Murray’s comments concerning elitist contempt for the working class in an event sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute on February 7, 2017.

Within the hour, he would be explicitly suggest that “new immigrants” were superior to the decadent, lazy, spoiled, coupon-clipping working class Americans and insinuated their replacement.

Continue reading “Bill Kristol: Author of His Own Future Misfortune?”

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Les Déplorables

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right . . . The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

– Hillary Rodham Clinton at LGBT for Hillary Gala – Sept 9, 2016

If I was to be grossly generalistic, I’d say that you can take Trump supporters and put them in two big baskets. There are what I call the deplorables. They’re racists, and the haters, and the people who are drawn because they think somehow he’s going to restore an America that no longer exists. So just eliminate them from your thinking because we have always had a paranoiac and prejudicial element within our politics.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Interview with Yonit Levi, Israeli TV – Sept 8, 2016

There are knock-out zingers or gaffes which make or break a public persona. Certainly, Mulroney’s “you had an option, sir” comeback qualifies as the defining and determining moment in a 1984 Canadian Federal Election debate; or Reagan’s folksy “there you go again” in a 1980 U.S. Federal Election debate; or contrariwise, Rick Perry’s infamous “Oops,” after an early stage senior’s moment.

While lacking the virtue of hindsight or empirical polling date, it seems virtually certain that a politician, publicly denigrating a quarter of the electorate of one’s nation as a basket (with intimations of “basket case”), as deplorables, as irredeemable, and as un-American, more than qualifies as such a defining and determining moment.

Such intuitions arise not merely from the amount and duration of play that these terms have generated in the media, including the foreign press and the now nakedly partisan mainstream media (MSM), who normally protect their Champion from self-inflicted wounds through non-reportage and other media contrivances. But such disparagements as Hillary Clinton’s are sufficiently over the top that they cannot be ignored.

It is rather because such sentiments speak directly into the zeitgeist of the moment; namely the disrobing of a hitherto veiled contempt by the cosmopolitan elite for the commons, the unwashed masses, the ignorant rubes of the hinterland, and the vengeance that such disdain would naturally provoke in the latter. It is open class warfare in a nation whose civil religion has hitherto repudiated and denied the existence of class in America. And Hillary Clinton has successfully auditioned for the starring role of that horror film.

Many among Clinton’s allies have condemned her remarks; a meritorious few among them out of genuine concern for the public good. “We believe in redemption, not just because you’re a liberal but you’re American. When you right off people and blame the customer; that is really bad.” – Mark Shields)

But a surprising number have thought it prudent and shrewd to embrace her sentiments, to violate the politically correct nostrum of modern democracy concerning the decency and virtue of the common man.

Partisan Considerations

Having no direct skin in the U.S. election, I have little interest in the Stock Ticker of partisan gamesmanship. Nevertheless, it seems quite evident to me that this ‘basket of deplorable’ motif exhibits a dearth of political acumen which plunges well beneath the lowest bar of expectations for a veteran politico and a major political party. It is unfathomable how such an indiscriminate and amorphous insult against one’s own electors could produce a net partisan gain. The stings of verbal assault linger far longer in those against whom they were directed than with those who enjoy a momentary glee.

Certainly, the optics of declaiming, at an LGBT gala, the theists and moralists, who do not buy into the LGBT agenda (and thereby summarily qualify as a homophobic heretic in an LGBT moral universe), is supremely rich in irony and dissonance from the latter’s perspective (Isaiah 5:20). It is well reported that many among the theists and moralists have been having a crisis of conscience in voting for Trump; these, who have hitherto dutifully supported whatever Champion the Republican Party proffered. But in that such malevolent attitudes permeate the soul of Clinton and her allies towards them, those, who may have otherwise sat on their hands, may find it a compelling existential necessary for their own welfare to effectually vote against Clinton.

The evident general contempt for the unwashed masses and ignorant rubes of the hinterland by this member of the cosmopolitan elite may arouse even more nativist rubes, who have never or rarely voted, from their apathy in a singular display of defiance. One would have thought that someone within the Clinton coterie would have picked up on the political blunders of the Remain side on the Brexit referendum.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus – The New Colossus (1883)

It is also rich irony in a nation whose founding myth includes America as refuge for the many who were deemed the social outcasts, the deplorables, within their native homelands. This is an attitude that many first generation immigrants, residing in the United States, would have first-hand knowledge. The myth of the immigrant is celebrated more by the progressive liberal set than their political adversaries; a myth which includes a new start for those who had been considered irredeemable. Yet the would-be governor of America has inadvertently positioned herself, in her updated version of wretched refuse against a large swath of the governed, as an instigating agent of emigration.

Higher Considerations of Statesmanship

As intimated elsewhere, I have been of the studied opinion since the late 1980s that United States has been sleepwalking (and now hurtling) towards civic conflagration, barring a preemptive coup d’état. There are seminal causes, which underlie the accelerating polarization and schisms since especially the 1960s, whose crosscurrent dynamics are now in abundant display. But the flurry of empirical evidence of imminent civic tumult is now rushing faster than one can countenance it all.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties (factions) in the state . . .

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is  itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

George Washington, Farewell Address (1797)

One might wish that some American Cincinnatus or Scipio, with substance and natural nobility, might emerge from the culturally gated communities of the American optimates or the subterranean swamps of the populares, who recognize the present peril and demonstrate genuine will to forestall such civic conflagration. However, not only have recent politicos been blissfully oblivious to the dangers, but they have exacerbated and contributed to this hurtling vortex. In that none exists among the representatives of the American populace, with the wisdom to recognize, acknowledge, and address the present peril, it may be indicative of America’s ethical and intellectual depletion.

It is within this context that Hillary Clinton’s “basket case of irredeemable deplorables” must be framed. The underlying attitude, and the brazen shamelessness in publicly expressing it, makes her an active agent of civic division and conflagration and a contributor to the imminent ruin of the free civic polity and public liberty. Beyond the mendacity, the venality, the greed and self-aggrandizement, the corruption, the lack of core convictions and dedication to a transcendent vision beyond that of mere self-interest; Clinton’s arrogant contempt towards large swaths of the populace and her divisiveness makes her intrinsically unfit to lead her nation.

What a woeful state of affairs! For in Donald Trump, the Americans have an ignorant and unprincipled yet politically shrewd operator, the first edition of many demagogues, who provides a partial template for future authoritarians in the ashes of the American Republic’s demise. And in Hillary Clinton, they have an equally unprincipled but politically dim-witted Marie Antoinette (“What difference, at this point, does it make?”), whose schismatic attitudes and the policies and actions/reactions, which invariably would emanate from those attitudes, will quicken that demise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Political Nihilism

 DISCLAIMER: While I subscribe to the factual realities described in the ensuing article, upon reviewing it, its tone sounded more like a mild Jacobin or Marxist Revolutionary pamphlet than an explanation. It is an irritated response to several condescending mainstream U.S. op-eds, as well as being “inspired” by a disturbing exchange on the commentariat with one of those Trumplets, whose inchoate response to any argument was basically to run his interlocutor over. While empathizing with the plight of the plebes, considering that I am, these realities just do not apply to the same extent in a nation whose GINI coefficient is significantly lower than the U.S.


People have this illusion that if they strike out they’ll accomplish something, but of course they won’t. They only accomplish something by having a smart idea about direction and policy. The violence that’s being fomented is not helping to formulate smart economic policies.

The pro-Trump segment of the American electorate has thus abdicated a basic duty of a democratic citizenry: to hold a candidate accountable for his or her ideas. Worse, many seem to regard his crude simplifications as a feature, not a bug — a badge of uninvolvement in the corrupt Washington system

This condescending sentiment noted above is representative of an establishment elite who, enclosed within their own well-feathered cultural and socioeconomic cocoon, cannot comprehend and scornfully disdain the rubes who would nominate an uncultured Joe the Plumber, albeit a gilded one, who hasn’t a coherent governing philosophy, a consistent agenda; in short, who doesn’t have a clue.

It may be beyond imagining, within gated communities, how the savages outside could possibly perceive that the mere act of destroying the current social system could, by itself, improve their lot. But from the other side of the track, it appears entirely reasonable. And indeed, history grants some credence to the notion.

Continue reading “The Benefits of Political Nihilism”

American Crassus

The potential for Donald Trump to be next American President first brought to mind the last scene in an old, historically inaccurate, and tad overwrought movie, The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), whereby the imperial title of Caesar was being auctioned off after the death of Commodus, and closing with this somber warning of Ariel Durant.

This was the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.

The title had once been auctioned off to a wealthy senator, Didius Julianus, in 193 AD by the Praetorian Guard. But this was one emperor removed and three months after Commodus. Disgust by local Romans to that “election” would thereupon encourage military generals to vie for the throne.

But while culturally, America may be in that interregnum between Marcus Aurelius and the Crisis of the Third Century, the wrong Fall and the wrong plutocrat is being referenced. A more appropriate historical parallel is the fall of the Roman Republic in first century BC. The more appropriate plutocrat was Crassus who, along with Pompey and Julius Caesar, constituted the First Triumvirate. Continue reading “American Crassus”

Hyphenated Christianity: Evangelical Feminism Edition

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. (Matthew 6:24)

The sad but amusing truth about heresy, heterodoxy, mendacity, and corruption nowadays is how lacking in subtlety and duplicity most of it is. It cannot be any more obvious that a church has split and conflicting loyalties between the claims of Christ Jesus and the demands of civil religion than when that church hoists both cross and flag upon its altar. Even when that church sheepishly removes the flag in response to criticism, it does not necessarily indicate any genuine change of heart and mind.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

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The Mendacity of Modern Journalism – Exhibit “A”

Rumors seep from the guilds of journalism of a pervasive belief therein that since impartial objectivity is impossible to attain, the bar should be lowered. But in that all fall short of any standard that is set, the invariable logic of lowering bars invariably produces a vortex of mediocrity. Thereby, honest reporting devolves into advocacy journalism and thereafter blatant sycophantic propaganda. That is certainly one plausible explanation for the contemporary state of affairs.

Today’s champion of journalistic mendacity comes from left-liberal ezine, Vox, not particularly notorious for noetic integrity. I stumbled upon an article by Vox’s Matthew Yglesias through a well-meaning but inept op-ed by David Brooks of The New York Times, who cited  Yglesias’  summation of another source, without validating the veracity of that summation.

The issue involves immigration and illegal immigration in the context of Donald Trump’s recent burps of authenticity; and in particular the claims that immigration harms the “incomes of native-born Americans on average.”

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The Gospel of the Kingdom

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15)

To his credit, N.T. Wright is rightly restoring the ‘sociopolitical’ dimension of the Gospel to the Christian consciousness, even if his soteriology is ultimately incoherent and heretical. For, the first manner by which Christ proclaimed the Gospel (Matthew 4:23, Mark 1:15) is as the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is near about Christ’s last (Matthew 24:14). Indeed, the nature of the Kingdom was constant theme of Christ’s teachings.

It is by means of exploiting the atomistic impoverishment of the Americanized Gospel that NT. Wright establishes a greater credibility over the existing orthodoxy, which he thereupon extends into his perspective on the nature and meaning of Justification. For, to the American Evangelicals…

The gospel is the great news of what God has graciously done in Jesus Christ, especially in his atoning death and vindicating resurrection, his ascension, session, and high priestly ministry, to reconcile sinful human beings to himself, justifying them by the penal substitute of his Son, and regenerating and sanctifying them by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit, who is given to them as the down payment of their ultimate inheritance. God will save them if they repent and trust in Jesus.1

…the Gospel merely becomes a matter of “how to get saved”. And in the industrial strength commoditization of Christian conversion through such methodisms as the Altar Call and The Four Laws, salvation becomes a formalistic ritual equivalent of baptismal regeneration. “Take a little walk; say a little prayer; sign a little card; get saved tonight;” (to a modified chorus from K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight” (1975)).

Continue reading “The Gospel of the Kingdom”