The View From 1776
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Da Vinci Code: Liberal Gnosticism
The Da Vinci Code’s gnosticism is not something that disappeared centuries ago. It survives as the religious substance of today’s liberalism and its kindred sects of socialism.
Gnosticism is the belief that intellectual elites have secret knowledge about the structure of human society and about the relationship between humans and the cosmos. These elites are thereby empowered to direct human affairs.
Gnosticism has surfaced repeatedly over the ages, in modern times in the philosophical underpinnings of the 1789 French Revolution.
The Da Vinci Code’s depiction of gnosticism as the preserver of the “truth” about Jesus and Christianity falls into the debunking tradition that commenced in 18th century France with attacks by Voltaire and others on the Catholic Church.
Appropriately, American liberalism, a lineal descendant of the gnosticism of the French Revolution, is implicit in Dan Brown’s novel. In the Da Vinci Code, a fictional gnostic doctrine preserved knowledge with the power to destroy Christianity. American liberals seek to destroy Christianity in order to create a society of egalitarian perfection.
A characteristic common to all the varieties of gnostic socialism is the belief that human conduct, indeed fundamental human nature, can be manipulated by controlling and changing the the conditions in which people live. This will be found in all of the 19th and 20th century varieties of socialism, from Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte, to Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, to Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler, and Franklin Roosevelt.
The corollary is that, in order to restructure society and control the conditions which determine human nature and conduct, it is necessary to get rid of inconveniences like Christianity, personal moral responsibility, and private ownership of property that stand in the way. This is the role played by The Da Vinci Code’s debunking.
Eric Voegelin in his 1959 “Science, Politics & Gnosticism” describes the salient characteristics of gnosticism, all of which apply to the doctrines of American liberalism.
First, the gnostic liberal is dissatisfied with the world as he finds it. He rejects the evidence of history that there always will be strife, wars, inequalities in ability and station, and some degree of poverty. And he is confident that he has the knowledge (gnosis) to make things perfect, which he defines as equality in all things.
Second, the gnostic-liberal attributes the problems of human life to poor organization of the economic and political realms. Evil and hardship must therefore arise from some identifiable source (capitalism? ownership of private property?) that deforms the proper structure of society.
Third, the gnostic-liberal has a deep faith that earthly salvation from the world’s tribulations is attainable, a trait markedly evident in the theoretical models of Soviet Russia and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Fourth, the gnostic-liberal believes that this salvation is attainable through the process of history (which , of course, he uniquely understands). Auguste Comte’s 1820s gnosis was his discovery of the “immutable law of history,” according to which there are three ages of human social development, the third stage in the 19th century being the new scientific, socialistic age into which only knowledgeable intellectuals could lead the masses.
The same three-phase philosophy of history reappears in Hegel and Marx. Note that Hitler’s National Socialism was consciously called the Third Reich to identify it with the gnostic millennium of earthly harmony and peace.
Note also that the nature of gnosis is that its secret knowledge is available and comprehensible only to a select few. This has always implied in socialism a vulnerability to dictatorial concentration of power in the collectivized state. In Italy and Germany of the 1920s and 1930s it was expressed as the Leader Principle ? Il Duce and Der Fuhrer.
Fifth, the gnostic-liberal believes that, having discovered the secret meaning of history, he can implement and control the process of history by political and economic means, i. e., via socialism.
And, finally, the gnostic-liberal’s core belief is that salvation, the perfection of social relations and human conduct, is attainable via human action, here on earth. This is the source of Lenin’s mystical concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat that would bring peace and harmony to the people and would lead to a gradual withering away of formal government, leaving the Soviet people living in a modern Garden of Eden ? from each according to ability, to each according to need.
We see the manifestation of this mystical, gnostic vision every day in liberal politicians’ belief that individuals are incapable of fending for themselves, that only the national political state can do the job. There is always something wrong with society and always a politician confident that one more set of regulations or one more welfare-state program will make everything OK.
Gnosticism’s message that life really can be made perfect here on earth, I believe, accounts for the mass appeal of Ron Brown’s “Da Vinci Code,” which is a sort of adult version of Harry Potter wizardry.
People want to believe that a body of secret knowledge will free them from Christianity’s stern admonitions to work hard, save for a rainy day, abjure hedonism, and recognize that perfection of human life is impossible in the earthly realm. It’s so much easier to eat, drink, be merry, and let the government take care of us.
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A Memorial Day Tribute to Unsung Heroes
My thanks to reader Bob Stapler for the following tribute to his father and to all the merchant mariners who made victory possible in World War II.
The United States Merchant Marines ? Unremembered Heroes of WWII
By Robert W. Stapler
When I was but a lad,
?my greatest hero was my dad.
No great mystery there.? Many boys live in awe of their fathers: giants whose lanky stride force small boys to hurry just to keep up and whose mere presence lend confidence or bravado to boys not ready to take on the world.? Yet, for so many of my generation, our fathers truly are larger than life and took giant strides that dwarf our own.? We are the post-World War II baby-boomers.? Most of us never missed a meal, suffered dislocation, got separated from family, or marched away en mass to war for a cause everyone signed onto.? Oh, sure, a few of us went to Vietnam or saw brief action in some banana republic, but we never experienced a whole generation rising out of economic ashes to fling itself into total war with everything we cherished in the balance.? Few generations do.
So it was that most boys my age had dad?s with medals in drawers and who could brag of battles their father?s fought; ? all but my dad.? My dad had no medals, belonged to no military unit, had no military rank, and couldn?t claim to have killed a single Jap or German.? My dad was a merchant seaman, and for the longest time I thought that meant he?d somehow missed all the action other dad?s had seen.? On the one hand, I was glad he?d avoided getting killed, but felt a little shamed he hadn?t taken the same risk other boy?s dads had taken.? He even bragged of being more a lover than a fighter, which I found disappointing.
Part of the problem was all the war movies.? In 1957, when I first took stock of such things, WWII movies made up about 1/5th of all the movies we?d see on television or in movie theatres.? John Wayne was the greatest movie war hero of all time, and if the Duke didn?t play a guy from your dad?s bunch, well then, it must be your dad hadn?t amounted to much in the war.? There were movies about marines landing on tropic islands, soldiers storming beaches in Italy and Normandy, airmen bombing German war factories, and even one about Seabees courageously building air bases near the front.? The only movie ever made about ships that haul cargo, Mr. Roberts, makes the freighter a Navy ship and the crew all enlisted swabbies (at least, Cagney gets to play a merchant seaman turned Navy captain), and the only action provided comes from Ensign Pulver who final gets up the nerve to toss the old-man?s palm tree overboard.? That movie even contrived to make cargo duty seem so safe a single ship could plow back and forth across the Pacific for months unescorted, and the greatest hazard to its complement as boredom.? True, the Japanese didn?t go after cargo ships the way the Germans did, but they didn?t leave them alone either.? Otherwise, the only time you see cargo ships in war movies is from the vantage of Navy ships guarding them or U-boats sinking them.? Basically, in the movies, they?re a bunch of antiseptic targets devoid of any human dimension.
Another problem was holiday parades.? Each 4th of July there?d be a parade with lots of veterans marching along in the uniform of their service.? I remember other kids calling out to their dads marching smartly along in uniforms that no longer quite fit, yet decked with ribbons and smiling benignly on the crowd of mere mortals.? My dad had no such uniform and marched in no parade.? There he?d be, saluting the brave fathers passing by.? He?d stand with us kids among the mom?s and granddads, sometimes choking up over the mere mention of ?boys who hadn?t come home?.
I knew from listening to my dad he?d served aboard ships carrying war supplies to men fighting in far away places like Murmansk, Okinawa, Tarawa, India, Sidney, Burma, Scotland, France, Italy, Greece, Adak, and Morocco.? He?d been at or near almost every major beach-assault of the war, including D-Day.? But, you?d have to assume from what little he said he?d been just one more REMF.? He told us what it was like living months at sea and how scared he?d sometimes get thinking he?d be sunk.? I knew he?d been sunk a couple of times, but still didn?t get it that this was the equal of ?real? fighting.? He told us how the Liberty ships and freighters he?d served on had guns too small and inaccurate to be much good against enemy ships, submarines, and airplanes; and how dependent they?d been on the Navy to watch over them.? This gave the impression the Navy guys were the heroes, risking their necks to protect my dad (kind of like some rich merchant with his body guard).?
I don?t recall exactly when it hit me that my dad had seen as much ?action? as the bravest soldier, sailor or marine; or what he?d said that made it sink in.? Probably, it was when he got around to talking about lost shipmates.? About that same time, he began telling my eldest brother what it was like being shot at and sunk, and related the time he?d been sunk on the Murmansk Run and fished out of the water before he froze to death.? I couldn?t help but feel some awe, and tried to imagine being in water so cold it would kill within minutes.? Gradually, we mined stories out of him about the other times he?d been shot at, fighting fires aboard ship where there?s no choice but to get the fire out, ships flooding, men drowning, men shot at while trying to stay afloat, ships blundering into mine fields, standing lookout for U-boats and planes, staying together in the water, watching fellow ships getting blasted in convoy, ships separated from the convoy, babysitting seasick soldiers in transport, and the relief everyone felt on spotting land.? He told us of the many wonderful shipmates he?d known and soldiers he?d met in the war, many of them credited with heroism he never ascribed to himself.? We found out he?d been in it even before America?s entry into the war, an underage teen two years short of a high school diploma.?? He?d remained at sea from the time of the allied collapse and throughout the Battle of Britain because keeping the supplies flowing was just too important.? Because of this, he failed to finish high school or go to college.? He never expressed jealousy over the shabby treatment given the merchant seamen.? To him, the other services were brothers who got the recognition they deserved, and it was just tough luck civilians couldn?t seem to see how much merchant seamen had also given.?
That?s about where my awareness stayed for many years, until my dad started getting sick.? First he developed emphysema from years of exposure to chemicals and fibers.? His lungs were a mess and, at age 50, he began to keep bottled oxygen handy for those times he couldn?t get enough air.? He was still working because he?d been self-employed for years running a small air-conditioning business and had no access to disability benefits.? I rode around with him, sometimes fetching oxygen from the back of the truck as he drove.? It didn?t dawn on me then (because I was ignorant of such things) that most guys in his condition could apply for some kind of benefit.? In those days, that was true because most guys his age were recognized war veterans entitled to compensation for war related health problems.? Not the merchies, though.? WWII merchant seamen were not granted any recognition until 1988, by which time my dad?s health problems were greatly compounded by asbestos (again from hauling war materials).??
When he turned 65, my dad was mostly bound to a wheel chair with oxygen strapped to it.? He stayed as active as he could, but that meant my mom had to attend to all the preparations that enabled him go on outings.? By the time Congress got around to recognizing the merchies, many were already dead or dying from war related exposure to toxic materials hauled across the oceans without any protection of the men regularly exposed to it.? My dad was past saving and got one three month stay in a veteran?s hospital and burial in a veteran?s cemetery.? He never got a VA loan to buy a home, finish his education, or regular care that might have kept him alive to a decent age.? The bitterness my dad never expressed came pouring out of my mom while she sat watching the blotches of cancer eating away at him and drugs that dulled his once bright mind.? I, too, sat and watched this once vital man first shrivel, and then waste away in morphine edged pain.?? He died at home in order to be close to my mom when it came.? He feared dying more from leaving her alone than anything else.? He cherished life, and one of the last things he said to me was ?The worst day living is better than the best day dead?.? I knew he meant it as a joke, because he was always making such jokes.? This one was a paraphrase of a popular bumper sticker variously describing fishing, sailing, or golfing versus work.? Yet, it didn?t come across as a joke.? It sums up his attitude toward life, and that of his whole generation, rather well.? It describes the reserves of pluck stored up after pulling themselves out of a depression, defeating monstrous enemies, and building a new kind of life that acknowledges no regret for opportunities missed.
To those who don?t know about the U.S. Merchant Marines and their service in WWII, I will relate the following:
Without the U.S. Merchant Marine, the Allies would have lost the war, and we?d now be living in a very different world.? For every soldier serving in Europe, Russia, and Pacific, the Merchant Marine transported 11+ tons of material each year vital to his support.? 215,000 merchant seamen served during WWII (up from 55,000 pre-war).? 8,300 merchant marines were killed at sea and another 1,100 died from wounds.? 663 merchant marines were taken captive, with 66 dying in captivity.? In all, 1 out of every 26 merchant seamen died in action, the highest casualty rate of any wartime service.? 33 merchant ships were sunk each week of 1942, the worst year for the Merchant Marine.
The bravery of the men who made up our Merchant Marine is unquestionable, and arguably surpasses that of combatants armed to protect themselves.? Like other non-combatants (e.g., nurses, medics, truck drivers) who stood in harm’s way, theirs is the greater valor.?? Yet, they received no Medals of Honor, Purple Hearts, or citations for valor.? At last, the Merchant Marines are being granted the single honor of resting among brave men.? While you are thinking this Memorial Day on fallen soldiers, airmen, marines, Navy and Coast Guard seamen, think too on the thousands of merchant seamen, still living and dead, who preserve your freedoms through their sacrifice.? Give to them the same gratitude we give all such heroes.? If you happen to know one still living, thank him and thank him for all his shipmates.
Celebrating my dad?s life and heroism this day are my Mom, his five sons, one daughter, various grandchildren (including my son), and great grandchildren.
?Bob Stapler is a Mechanical Engineer living and working in Maryland (and striving hard to fill his father?s shoes)
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Monday, May 29, 2006
Liberal Aggression and the Da Vinci Code
Despite Dan Brown’s disclaimers, his book and the movie version are attacks on Christianity. Liberalism’s hopes for survival necessitate such unprovoked aggression.
Liberal intellectuals know that the survival of Christian truth is life-threatening to liberalism. Poland’s Catholic-inspired revolt against Moscow is an ever-present reminder. In the United States, even with monopoly control of elementary and high schools, and our colleges, liberal-socialism ultimately cannot withstand rational scrutiny, because universal experience proves it to be ineffectual and corrosive nonsense.
Only by fabricating history and continuing to suppress teaching of American constitutional traditions can liberals hope to avoid joining the Soviet Union in history’s dustbin.
This explains the crude attack in the May 23, 2006 post on The Daily Kos, one of the most popular liberal websites:
“Getting back to the movie, however, I’ve noticed anti-“Da Vinci Code” signs at local churches, too. And these aren’t isolated incidents, either. You can’t watch Fox News for five minutes without catching a host or commentator challenging the movie, much like the network made it a point to assault “Brokeback Mountain” at every turn. Or bash Mexicans.
“Why do people behave so irrationally? Because they fear change. They fear that the face of the 21st Century in America won’t be white. They fear that fewer people view two loving people who happen to share the same sex as a threat to democracy. And they fear that people may ask questions about the origins of their faith. Why think for ourselves when these people, these arbiters of wisdom, can do it for us?”
“....But these people, these turds in our collective punch bowl, fail to recognize the spectacular hypocrisy inherent in their outrage…..
“You want to know what’s a real threat to people’s faith? Church sex abuse. And the longer some blame liberals for the blight instead of looking in the mirror, the more problems the church will have. Problems like the fact that some people consider it a good thing to physically assault those whose only crime is holding different viewpoints. Problems like the notion that Pat Robertson and others like him say things they’d spend a lifetime decrying if they came from a mullah. Problems far greater than “The Da Vinci Code”.”
Liberals are particularly exasperated by the resurgence of Christianity and religious Judaism, because they were confident that spiritual truth had been mortally wounded in the 1930s and dispatched finally in the 1970s.
In his 1934 “A Common Faith,” John Dewey, 20th century America’s high priest of liberal-socialism, wrote:
“Criticism of the commitment of religion to the supernatural is thus positive in import…. The objection to supernaturalism is that it stands in the way of an effective realization of the sweep and depth of the implications of natural human relations. It stands in the way of using the means [i.e., socialism] that are in our power to make radical changes in these relations…. Secular interests and activities have grown up outside of organized religions and are independent of their authority. The hold of these interest upon the thoughts and desires of men has crowded the social importance of organized religions into a corner and the area of this corner is decreasing.”
When Dewey wrote this, liberalism was on the crest of the socialist wave from the 1917 revolution in the Soviet Union. Liberals everywhere were confident that Russian experience would demonstrate conclusively the superiority of socialism over Christianity.
As we know, it didn’t turn out quite that way. Liberals nonetheless cling to their secular religious faith, blindly assuring themselves that, absent bad leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro, socialism would have perfected human society.
In that vein, President Clinton’s Labor Secretary Robert Reich more recently wrote in The American Prospect:
“The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, on March 29, 2005:
“Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst…. We can see this failing clearly in other countries. In the Netherlands, for example, a culture of tolerance led the nation to ignore the growing influence of Islamic extremists until they turned murderous. But it’s also true of the United States, where dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group, and wield great political influence…
“One thing that’s going on is a climate of fear for those who try to enforce laws that religious extremists oppose. Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo’s parents, hasn’t killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor. George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards…..And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law….. America isn’t yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren’t sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.”
Let’s just say that Messrs. Reich and Krugman exaggerate a bit.
If a disinterested observer were to survey all the news reports of recent years, he would find that violence has been perpetrated, not by Christians and religious Jews, but by liberal mobs blocking city streets, denying emergency vehicle access, smashing storefront windows, and damaging automobiles in their path.
When liberals speak to student assemblies, they are not assaulted or shouted down by Christian students. But conservatives and Christians are physically assaulted and otherwise prevented from speaking by liberal students.
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Saturday, May 27, 2006
Memorial Day Wishy-Washy Wobblers
George W. Bush is no Churchill, certainly not as an orator. But he is much closer to Churchill as a leader than are his critics who pander to opinion polls and focus groups.
Liberals are so focused on their hatred for the President that Memorial Day hardly gets a passing glance from them. In my state of Connecticut, local and national liberal organizations have begun spending millions to defeat Senator Joseph Lieberman, solely because he supported the Iraq invasion, and unlike his wish-washy liberal party associates, has stuck with that support. The Democrat-dominated school board in the Senator’s home town of Stamford voted to ignore Memorial Day and to hold regular school sessions.
The estimable John lawrence on his Conservative Joe website once again hits exactly the right note for Memorial Day to contrast our history with Baby-Boomer liberals’ worship of self-indulgent hedonism and their devotion to the mythological theory of socialistic world peace through the UN. For liberals, patriotism is an evil concept. Hence their clamor to get out of Iraq at any cost.
In World War II, the Allies were prepared to do whatever was necessary to defeat the forces of evil. Students today are taught by their liberal professors to believe that mouthing platitudes about abstract social justice and proclaiming solidarity with the “working classes” and “freedom fighters” like Castro, Chavez, and Islamic jihadists will bring world peace and harmony.
Liberals, let’s remember, initially supported the Iraq invasion, turning against it only when the public tired of it and wanted to get back to regularly scheduled sit-coms and the elevating spectacle of reality TV. Rest assured that, if opinion polls show a resurgence of support for our actions in Iraq, liberals will swiftly take the same tack.
Liberals’ hatred of President Bush has been so consuming that they have spent no time devising their own plans, beyond getting out of Iraq and impeaching the President.
They accuse President Bush of simplicity in expecting a welcoming reception by Iraqis liberated from Saddam’s bloody oppression. Yet they implicitly assume that our pulling up stakes and leaving Iraq will make political matters smooth and easy in that nation and make Al Queda into our socialist confreres. Make nice, their atheistic materialism tells them, and we will all live happily ever after in a new Socialist International.
There are many reasons to disagree with some of George W. Bush’s policies. But at least we know where he stands and we can be reasonably confident that he means what he says and won’t walk away from the fight.
Contrast that to quintessentially liberal Jimmy Carter, who as President regularly declared a policy to be the “moral equivalent of war” on Monday and reversed himself on Wednesday, after labor unions and other liberal-socialist interest groups howled in protest. Carter, of course, never misses an opportunity to depict the United States as criminal and to laud terrorist dictators, while calling for unilateral withdrawal from Iraq.
Until he settled upon General Grant, President Lincoln had many brilliant generals, but few who would simply fight and pursue the Confederate troops without stopping. General Grant’s campaigns were bloody for both sides, but by sticking to it, he won.
Public opinion then, as now, demanded an end to the war. Editors like Horace Greely, the equivalent of today’s New York Times editors, called for peace overtures, leaving the Confederacy to go its way, splitting the nation forever.
Like Lincoln, President Bush doesn’t ask the pollsters to determine what our national policy ought to be, but studies the recommendations of his counsellors, then acts upon his firm convictions. The public may not like it, but the fact is that the President’s military, intelligence, and diplomatic advisers are far better informed than the average guy in the street whose off-hand reactions form opinion polls.
Monday, May 22, 2006
HAVE WE NO MORE CHURCHILLS?
?by John Lawrence
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. Statesman, gentleman, and learned scholar.
I recently watched a video that contained some of Sir Winston’s famous speeches. Listening to his voice was soothing and sad. Listening to the conviction in it was inspiring. It provides a stark contrast to the politicians in our midst today. Indeed, they are politicians often and statesmen seldom.
As I listened to the words of the man who led his nation against ‘Hitler and his Huns’ as Winston would call them, something was missing from his speech. There was no political correctness, no measuring of his words unless it was necessary to get across to the listener the gravity of the situation. He was never apologetic or condescending. He simply said what he believed in his heart, not what he knew that his audience wanted to hear. He was honest and straight-forward. He was honorable.
Myself not being born until 1967, I must lament that I don’t think that I have ever seen a Winston Churchill. How refreshing it must have been to hear a real leader. Not a panderer to the masses, but a conductor of a great orchestra with us as the instruments.
One of the most striking things about his speeches is the way he was so forceful and intent with the course his nation and his beloved subjects would stay. There was never a debate, just full steam ahead. For their part, Britons should be proud for having allowed this man to lead them.
As the war in Iraq unfolds and the casualties mount, one can find numerous references to cowardly summations of the situation and plenty of politicians who continue to wave the white flag of surrender. They do so for many reasons, none of them noble. They call for America’s defeat because they believe the socialist world order propaganda emanating from the press and the United Nations. They do it for votes as they keep their fingers on the pulse of the nation’s mood, and they do it because they simply cannot see the connection that Saddam played in terrorism, including paying the families of homicide bombers. In short, they are not leaders, but simply serfs.
I wonder if the people today could stomach a real leader? My appraisal of our culture leads me to believe that we have become more like the cowards of WWII France, who would sell out their children and their children’s children to obtain a false peace. They would not understand that it was a false peace because they lacked wisdom. I guess that my opinion of my fellow countrymen may seem harsh, but consider the whispers and the voices now calling for Canada to leave Afghanistan. They grow louder with each new soldier that falls to evil.
During WWII, Winston Churchill declared to Germany that he would rather see London in ruins that to capitulate to one of such loathing as Hitler. “We would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that is should be tamely and abjectly enslaved” His defiance was met with more and more bombing raids that eventually took more than 40,000 lives in Great Britain. Would today’s generation stand behind such a leader? Would we, having the benefit of history, have the fortitude to stand against tyranny or would the sacrifice be too high for us to fathom today?
Evidence around us says that there would be some who would understand the words of such a man, but that most would not. A leader of that strength would be subject to a public lynching via the media and would be called a failure for causing such unnecessary carnage.
In a speech at the onset of WWII and Britain’s involvement, Churchill stated the following: “But now we are at war. And we are going to make war. And persevere in making war until the other side have had enough of it.” Today, it seems that even though it was Al Qaeda who attacked freedom and democracy in America and by association of our ally on us as well, that we are not willing to persevere in making war. It seems the cost of eradicating an external threat to not only our soil but our way of life is viewed as simply too high, even for those fence sitters who bare none of the costs. I say liberty has no maximum price. To the last man, if necessary.
When Winston Churchill addressed the heads of state of most of Europe, he talked about the battles ahead and the belief that their enemies would never be victorious. “We know it will be hard. We expect it will be long. We cannot predict or measure its episodes or its tribulations. But one thing is certain, one thing is sure, one thing stands out stark and undeniable, massive and unassailable for all the world to see. It will not be by German hands that the structure of Europe will be rebuilt or the union of the European family achieved.”
I have been waiting for a western leader to stand up and declare something of the sort for our nation. Perhaps I can suggest a few words. “We will not be bullied about by those who wish to eradicate our rights and freedoms. We will not allow a handful of islamic extremists whose main tool is hatred of all others to invade our nations which are beacons of hope for all mankind. The actions of but a handful of cowards will not undo the liberty of our nation. We will not allow the falling of our sons and daughters to deter us from our course which we know is just. We will not sit idly by as nation after nation around the globe is usurped by the fundamentalism of death which is falsely paraded about as a peaceful religion. We will not be so fooled. Our nations have been here for hundreds of years, and will remain symbols of love, charity, and freedom for hundreds more. If that is not the case, then we are here for naught.” That may not measure up to Winston, but I gave it my best shot.
Drawing a parallel between the struggles that we face today and those that we faced at the hands of Germany, Italy, and Japan may seem to some as over the top, but I believe there is a great deal of comparison. We are perhaps in a more fierce battle today, as it is one that is nearly invisible, thus failing to capture the support of all of our citizens. It is being fought in a different way, but the stakes are just as high. Our enemies have thus far been very successful. They have exposed our lack of resolve, our lack of understanding as citizens to the fact that we are fighting an evil force, and they have not only stuck down thousands of our citizens, but they have divided our nations, our people, and our governments. They have succeeded in undermining the global consensus that would be necessary to vanquish the enemies in our midst quickly and decisively.
In closing, I once again take my hat off to the likes of George W. Bush and Tony Blair. They are but a few who dared stand up to a tyrant who, like Hitler, thumbed his nose at the will of the rest of the world. An aggressor and invader of his neighbours, Saddam played with the U.N. (a useless organization in its present form, if I may), and refused to comply with resolution after resolution. Many countries which failed to authorize the use of force for such behaviour later turned out to be involved in the oil-for-food scandal that has further weakened global consensus.
In failing to reach agreement on the basic fundamental principle of being able to enforce its resolutions, the United Nations has been made of no effect, a situation which was prevalent at the outset of WWII.
Sir Winston, our world is a much worse place without the likes of you. I pray that the Lord would one day again see us worthy to have such a statesman in our midst.
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Friday, May 26, 2006
Immigration: A Different Perspective
Steve Kellmeyer presents a thought-provoking interpretation that hovers somewhere between cynicism and conspiracy-theory.
It?s hard to disagree with Mr. Kellmeyer?s statement of the facts, but difficult to credit our political leaders with the long-range thinking implicit in his analysis.
If politicians really were concerned about anything beyond grasping for personal power (or money, ? la Louisiana?s Congressman William Jefferson), they would not keep punting the bankruptcy of Social Security down field to the next generation.
LOOKING FOR BABY JANE
By Steve Kellmeyer
Non-Hispanic whites make up 67 percent of the population, but they accounted for only 19 percent of the nation?s total population growth. While the nation as a whole is 36.2 years old, the white majority is, on average, 40.3 years old. Only 22% of the white population is under the age of 18, even though 25% of the total population is under 18.
What It Means In English
America’s Caucasian population is, by and large, over 40, and they are getting older, not younger. They haven?t had enough children over the last twenty years. They are largely past all opportunity to have any more. They’re done.
The Whining Generation can complain all it wants about the changes in America?s culture, but it is kind of absurd. They got what they asked for ? a life of partying and little responsibility. As a result, the next generation won?t look like them. Sorry.
America?s blacks are somewhat better off, but only on a theoretical basis. Blacks account for about 17% of total population growth, that is, they are growing even more slowly than the Caucasian population. American blacks have roughly three times as many abortions as American whites, so the fact that the two groups have similar rates of population growth is a strong statement about lost opportunities.
Black America’s future is bright on paper. The median age of black America is 30 years old, compares to 36.2 for the whole nation. There are still lots of young blacks, enough to have a chance to recover. But, in order to do that, they have to stop killing their babies.
Given the enormous social pressure on blacks to abort, this seems unlikely. It is estimated that up to 70% of Planned Parenthood?s abortion clinics are deliberately located in minority neighborhoods. Indeed, in 1993,Ron Weddington,
one of the lawyers who litigated Roe V. Wade in front of the Supreme Court, wrote a letter praising President Clinton?s support for abortion, since it reduced the black population.
These pressures have created a forty-year habit of abortion in America?s black culture. As a result, it seems unlikely that blacks will be able to reverse the cultural trend. They may have the youth, but legal abortion will see to it that America?s black population continues to decrease as a percentage of the total population.
Similarly, while Asians, American Indians and Pacific Islanders all have much younger populations (median ages of 33, 30.7 and 28.2, respectively), their actual numbers are so low to begin with that it hardly matters. They won?t be contributing much to the structure of the culture in the next few decades.
The Baby Pay-Off
When we look at the various subpopulations in the United States, there is no way to generate enough children to support white baby boomers in their old age. American politicians will only be re-elected if the elderly vote for them. The elderly will vote for them only if they have all their needs met, i.e., servants taking care of them.
Thus, politicians recognize that they need a population with an enormous economic incentive to have children in the United States. Whites are too old and too comfort-driven to have children, black children aren?t wanted, and the rest of the subpopulations are too small in terms of actual numbers to have any real effect on increased fertility.
Enter the Hispanic ?anchor baby.?
The Great White Hope
The people who will shape America?s culture for the foreseeable future are the Hispanics. They accounted for 49% of America?s population growth: 800,000 births, 500,000 immigrants. With a median age of 27.2 years, Hispanics have the youngest of all the populations in the United States. While roughly one-fourth of the general population is under 18, one-third of the Hispanic population fits in that category.
Now, why do we allow all that illegal immigration? Look around.
Russia pays its women to have babies but finds no takers. Norway and Sweden have only been marginally more successful, while even France ? which has provided the most successful payoff of the bunch ? cannot get the fertility rate up to replacement level.
The populations of all European countries are (a) dropping and (b) becoming Muslim. Within fifty years, we will be faced with a much smaller Europe that is much more Islamic and probably more militant. America answers this problem by creating enormous incentives for Hispanics to enter the country and have babies here instead of in Mexico. If the plan works, the elderly white baby boomers will all have their noses wiped at appropriate intervals by young Hispanic nurses and will therefore keep today’s politicians in office. But there is more.
The white baby boomers will all be dead in fifty years, either via natural causes or euthanasia. But if the Hispanic replacement population is successfully purchased from Mexico (which will experience its own population replacement problems within the next decade), America?s population will (a) not drop and (b) still be Judeo-Christian.
Americans who know how to read the numbers and who want America to survive an increasingly Islamic century understand this. Today, the person who is doing the most to assure America’s future is the pregnant illegal immigrant. Too lazy to have children ourselves, we have created an unofficial “rent-a-womb” guest worker program.
So, while the Whining Generation throws a tantrum, screaming that it is unjust to expect anyone their age to learn the Spanish word for ?fajita,? George W. Bush and subsequent presidents will continue to make sure America?s borders remain porous. There really isn?t anything else to do.
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Thursday, May 25, 2006
Anti-American Speaks the Truth
For once, we can agree with a college student’s anti-American tirade: The New School’s founding ideals are definitely not conservative.
The New York Times, in a May 20 article by David M. Herszenhorn, reported that, “The jeers, boos and insults flew, as caustic as any that angry New Yorkers have hurled inside Madison Square Garden. The objects of derision yesterday, however, were not the hapless New York Knicks, but Senator John McCain, the keynote speaker at the New School graduation, and his host, Bob Kerrey, the university president.
“No sooner had Mr. Kerrey welcomed the audience to the university’s 70th commencement than the hoots began to rise through the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Several graduates held up a banner aimed at Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican and likely 2008 presidential candidate, declaring: “Our commencement is not your platform.” Other students and faculty members waved orange fliers with the same message.”
“.... The first student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, 21, said she had discarded her original remarks to talk about Mr. McCain. “The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded,” she said, to a roaring ovation.”
Miss Rohe’s statement is all too true: the ideals upon which The New School for Social Research was founded are utterly different from the ideals that underpin the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Whether Senator McCain represents the latter is a question for another discussion.
What is now called simply The New School was founded in 1918 as The New School for Social Research, with the emphasis on the word social, as in socialism. Its model was the London School of Economics, which was organized in 1895 by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the founders of the socialist Fabian Society in England.
The intent was to bring to the new and burgeoning population of post-World War I socialists in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village an adult version of “progressive” education. This was to prepare them for cooperative living in the “good socialist society” toward which the United States appeared to be headed in the post-war disillusionment.
Principal founders of The New School for Social Research were three professors from Columbia University: John Dewey, James Robinson, and Charles A. Beard.
Professor Dewey was the originator of “progressive” education and the most influential single voice of socialism in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Of him, liberal-socialist Professor Sidney Hook wrote, “In Dewey’s philosophy we have a sustained and systematic attempt to take the pattern of scientific inquiry as a model for knowledge and action in all fields…. The life of democracy in our day and age depends upon “taking the method of science home into our controlling attitudes and dispositions [i.e., atheism], employing the new techniques as a means of directing our thoughts and efforts to a planned control of social forces [i.e., socialism].”...”
Professor Robinson, according to the Columbia University Encyclopedia, “... stressed the ?new history??the social, scientific, and intellectual progress of humanity rather than merely political happenings.” This was in the tradition of Henri de Saint-Simon, the founder of socialism, who interpreted history as an inevitable progression from primitive times, through medieval religious ignorance, and into the golden age of “science” that was to be socialism.
Charles A. Beard?s outlook was molded by Auguste Comte?s Religion of Humanity as it appeared in England during the late 19th century.? Studying in England from 1889 to 1891, Beard became enthralled with John Ruskin’s thesis that the political state should provide free education, vocational training workshops, guaranteed employment, job security, housing and social security for the old and poor, minimum wage laws, rent control, income ceilings, and public ownership of transportation.?
As a professor at Columbia in 1913, Beard published his now completely discredited book, ?An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States,? which asserted that the Constitution was a conspiracy by wealthy property owners to subjugate the working classes.
Early faculty members at the New School were socialist economists Thorstein Veblen, Leo Wolman, and Alvin S. Johnson.
Regarding Veblen, Max Lerner wrote in his editor’s introduction to the Viking edition of Veblen’s works, “America, which has produced the most finished and tenacious brand of business civilization, has also produced the most finished and tenacious criticism of it. That is the core meaning of Thorstein Veblen’s work…. His critique of our civilization is as unsparing as the Marxian.” Lerner, by the way, was no conservative critic. His own writing first appeared in “The Nation” and “The New Republic,” the two most liberal, general-circulation publications of that day.
To complete the picture of The New School for Social Research as a seminary whose ideals are the atheistic and materialistic catechism of the socialist religion, note that its early lecturers were John Maynard Keynes and Harold Laski.
Keynes was the propounder of the collectivist economics doctrine adopted by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal as the rationale for collectivistic planning and managing of the economy.
Laski, after teaching at Harvard from 1916 until 1920, returned to England to teach socialist economics at The London School of Economics and to serve on the executive committee of socialist Fabian Society.
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Sunday, May 21, 2006
The Mahdi: Iran’s Twist on Jihad
A Reader writes that Iran wants to precipitate Armageddon, believing that the Mahdi will return to lead Islam to worldwide victory.
For both Sunni and Shiite Muslims, the Mahdi is the infallible intercessor between Allah and faithful Muslims. The Mahdi, in Islamic tradition, will return to lead Muslims to earthly victory when world conditions reach an Armageddon-like state of political chaos. The Mahdi will then establish a world dominion of Islamic peace and justice.
Various people have over the centuries claimed to be the Mahdi. The best known of them to Westerners was Muhammad Ahmad, a Muslim religious leader in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. In 1881 he led a revolt in the Sudan against Egyptian and British rule, during the course of which his forces surrounded Khartoum and massacred British troops led by General “Chinese” Gordon. British forces avenged that defeat, wiping out the Mahdists at Omdurman in 1898. Those forces were led by Lord Kitchner, later British Secretary of War during World War I. Among his officers was a young Winston Churchill.
WHY IRAN WANTS WAR
Ahmadinejad & Co. starring in Armageddon
By Slater Bakhtavar
“The Iranian nation will wipe the strain of regret on the foreheads of those who want to bring about injustice,” President Ahmadinejad declared scornfully at a recent rally in the province of Zanjan. Iran “will cut off the hands of any aggressor,” any attack would be met with a response that is double-fold including suicide attacks across Europe and the United States, he warned. “Israel should be wiped off the map,” the predominately Jewish nation “cannot survive” and is headed “towards extinction” according to the fanatical President.
If one were to listen to his rhetoric alone, even the most astute political intellectuals would think Iran is a nation equipped with the most dangerous military arsenal capable of challenging any nation. But Iran’s rhetoric has little to do with their outdated and dismal military, their fledging economy or their detested government. The root of the government’s fiery tone may be traced to their Shi?te ideology messianic belief in a mysterious, mystical twelfth imam who ventured into hiding over a thousand years ago.
The Hidden Imam is a central concept in the teachings of Shiite Islam. Born Muhammad al-Mahdi he ventured into a cave in 941 AD hidden by a gate called the Gate of Occultation. The doctrine of Occultation professes Allah aided the cloaking of the Imam away from the eyes of man so that he could be kept alive until his return. Shiites believe that the Twelfth Imam will return to lead the religious battle between good and evil when the world has become consummately nefarious.
According to Shiite orthodoxy humans may not force or hasten the return of the Imam, but the Hojjateiehs a group of which Ahmadinejad is a member, opine that humans may stir up chaos to encourage his return. With his recent rhetoric vowing for the destruction of Israel, demanding deportation of the Jews to Europe and denying the Holocaust that the President seems to be doing just that. In fact, his messianic axiom of the Twelfth Imam and the subsequent suppression of the forces of evil [modern day US, UK, Israel and many other nations] is central to Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy. The Iranian government’s official policy has undercut efforts of the international community by rejecting a United Nations deadline to suspend Iran’s nuclear program, threatening to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty and vying that “nothing can stop Iran’s path to nuclear technology.” In anticipation of a stand off with the West, Iran recently clinched agreements with eight different Middle East insurgency groups to carry out suicide attacks against Israeli, British and US interests across the world. Ironically this plan is called “Judgment Day.”
During a private meeting with an Iranian cleric in November Ahmadinejad claimed that while giving a speech before the United Nations he felt “the atmosphere change and for 27 to 28 minutes the leaders did not blink” ?they were astonished.. it had opened their eyes and ears to the Islamic Republic.” He further said that he felt the hand of God upon him as he delivered his omniscient speech. In his egocentric fantasy world the Iranian President likely sees himself as a deputy of the Imam with a divine mission to encourage his arrival.
His references to the Imam in conjunction with threats to wipe countries off the face of earth should be taken seriously. Foreign policy experts should examine the Islamic Republic from both a political and religious perspective. To the clerical regime the return of the Imam is not a mere possibility, but a surety. Their attitude towards the international community seems to point at their preparation for that day.
International concerns aside, there are domestic reasons for the regimes erratic behavior. After 27 years of executions, floggings, stoning, oppression of political dissent, violation of women’s rights, oppression of religious minorities, the largest brain drain in the world, rampant prostitution, crime, drug use and mass unemployment the Islamic Republic is domestically quite loathed. In fact, recent student polls show that close to eighty five percent of the population supports fundamental democratic changes in the regime. Iranian students have consistently poured into the streets in pro-Democracy protests only to be violently suppressed, jailed, tortured and often murdered. But, dictatorships can only oppress for so long and it’s only a matter of time before Iran explodes in a pro-Western democratic revolution. The regime knows that the only way they can leave any kind of legacy is by invoking nationalistic pride by pushing the country into another war and unlike the Iran-Iraq war this time they’re paving the way for the return of the Twelfth Imam.
From challenging the world to enhancing Iran’s nuclear programs every issue is implemented for the arrival of Mahdi. The Islamic Republic is not vying for war because they’re too arrogant to understand they will be crushed. They’re vying for war because they believe Mahdi will return to help them defeat the United States and others who dare stand up to them. Ahamadinejad and Company’s Armageddon may be coming to a theater near you and it’s probably the scariest movie we’ll ever see unless we aggressively invest in the overthrow of the regime before its debut appearance.
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Monday, May 15, 2006
Liberal Czars Order Cars
The New York Times wants to force you to buy the automobiles they prefer. It’s what is known as state-planning.
A good socialist society is the way liberal academics like Robert Heilbroner or Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and other luminaries of Manhattan’s New School for Social[istic] Research, describe the political system that appeals to them. Considering themselves to be rational, reasonable, and correct in such matters, they can see no reason why all of us ought not be compelled to live our lives as they dictate.
In that vein, today’s New York Times editorial page expresses a typical liberal viewpoint that is one of socialism’s basic tenets: individual consumers cannot be trusted to make purchasing decisions for themselves, because the diabolical capitalist businessmen can control their thoughts and actions with advertising. Consumers, in socialistic theory, can’t make informed decisions; they buy whatever advertisers tell them to buy.
Consequently, our stores are full of unnecessary products that, in the judgment of socialist intellectuals, should be taken out of production. Planners for the collective state should be the one to decide what you need and what is best for you.
The burden of the Times editorial is that tax credits for buyers of hybrid autos are insufficient to force conventional automobiles out of production. In addition to tax credits, the Times demands much higher government mileage standards that would make producing the sorts of automobiles the public prefers an impossibility for the auto manufacturers.
This is the sort of state-planning that gave the Soviet Comintern that marvel, the Trabant. Consumers don’t really need an automobile with more than a two-stroke, 25 horsepower engine.
An related part of liberal-socialist theory is that there is a fixed amount of capital in the economy, so that stopping production of unnecessary products will free up some of that capital for new welfare-state handouts to make income redistribution more equal. Needless to say, if we all drive the automobile selected for us by the New York Times, this will makes us even more equal.
Now, I’m sure that the liberal planners have an answer to all of this, but it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the policy demanded by the Times will simply enable the Japanese auto makers to take over the entire United States auto market.
Even if you were to agree with the Times about forcing production of more hybrid cars, what do you say to the remaining workers in General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler who will lose their jobs as those companies go bankrupt? At the moment, GM and Ford in particular are struggling to avoid bankruptcy because of crippling labor agreements forced upon them with Federal support and complicity by the 1935 Wagner Labor Act. They are selling off divisions just to raise enough cash to stay alive. And they don’t have competitive hybrid cars.
But why should the Times editorialists worry? They take taxis or the subway.
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Sunday, May 14, 2006
The late Jean-Fran?ois Revel, writing 25 years ago, pegged exactly the self-defeating attitude of America’s liberal Republicans and Democrats: we are at fault when our enemies attack us; foreign enemies are simply a distraction from bestowing ever more welfare-state entitlements without heed to their future cost.
Jean-Fran?ois Revel, who died last week at the age of 82, was that exceedingly rare person: a French intellectual who didn’t despise the United States, an intellectual who understood the cancerous prognosis of liberalism.
Revel’s 1983 “How Democracies Perish” described liberalism’s debilitating effect on confronting the threat of domination by the Soviet Union. His observations apply equally today in our long-term struggle against Islamic jihad.
Revel wrote about democracy, meaning societies unhinged from historical tradition, in which people come to accept the idea that a constitution is nothing more than the latest social-justice fad formulated by intellectuals. That is a 20th century derangement, very different from what the Constitution instituted: a Federal republic with power divided between the states and the national government and split, within the national government, among the three main branches; a constitutional government designed to protect the rights of individuals against PC tyranny of the majority.
Regarding foreign enemies like the Soviet Union or today’s Islamic jihad, Revel observed that democracies are ill suited to deal with them: “Democracy tends to ignore, even deny, threats to its existence because it loathes doing what is necessary to counter them.” Hence the chorus of campus liberals, and a few members of Congress, who declared that we deserved the 9/11 attacks, because of our “imperialism” and our failure to ratify the Kyoto environmental treaty. Hence liberals demand now that we evacuate Iraq and place our fate in the tainted hands of the UN.
“What we end up with,” he wrote, “in what is conventionally called Western society is a topsy-turvy situation in which those seeking to destroy democracy appear to be fighting for legitimate aims, while its defenders are pictured as repressive reactionaries. Identification of democracy’s internal and external adversaries with the forces of progress, legitimacy, even peace, discredits and paralyzes the efforts of people who are only trying to preserve their institutions.”
About the effects of post-Vietnam liberal recrimination, he wrote: “....Civilizations losing confidence in themselves: an old story in history….[when citizens stop believing in themselves] civilization must choose between suicide and servitude.” Liberal suicide, or Islamic sharia.
Revel accurately characterized what has been in process on college campuses for generations, producing a dismaying number of future voters who hate the United States and cheer the death of our military personnel. “....Self-criticism is, of course, one of the vital springs of democratic civilization….But constant self-condemnation, often with little or no foundation, is a source of weakness and inferiority in dealing with…a power that has dispensed with such scruples…. Exaggerated self-criticism would be a harmless luxury of civilization if there were no enemy at the gate condemning democracy’s very existence.”
As Osama Bin Ladin has affirmed repeatedly in his messages, Islamic jihadists see this only as contemptible weakness that invites increased aggression. Our enemies care nothing about liberals’ French Revolutionary “Rights of Man.” They respect only the power that grinds their faces in the dust. President Clinton’s treating bombings of our embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole as criminal matters to be handled by the FBI, instead of acts of war, led directly to 9/11.
Even if we muster sufficient backbone to resist Islamic jihad, liberal Republicans and Democrats will be undermining our future from within by loading more free services onto an economy unable to fulfill even it existing commitments under Social Security and Medicare.
Regarding that, Revel wrote: “..[What the quest for economic equality produces] is the growing role of government, the modern government of which democracy’s children ask everything and from which they consequently accept everything. .... Tocqueville the visionary predicted [in his 1833 “Democracy in America”] with stunning precision the coming ascension of the omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient state the twentieth-century man knows so well: the state as protector, entrepreneur, educator; the physician-state, impresario-state, bookseller-state, helpful and predatory, tyrant and guardian, banker, father and jailer all at once…..Its power borders on the absolute partly because it is scarcely felt, having increased by imperceptible stages at the wish of its subjects, who turned to it instead of to each other. In those pages by Tocqueville we find the germ both of George Orwell’s “1984” and David Riesman’s “The Lonely Crowd.”
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Thursday, May 11, 2006
Pope Jane: Counterpoint to a Theme
A reader identified only as Kitchen has submitted a different perspective on Jane Jacobs and her relation to both liberals and conservatives.
There’s certainly a bit to chew on in this view of Jane Jacobs. It’s not what you normally see from any of the mainstream media. As I have previously suggested, urban planners seem to latch onto the Jacobs mantra while undermining most of what she advocated.
When Amanda Burden and Alex Garvin beat their collective chests in homage to Jacobs while planning (and now executing) the systemic destruction of Manhattan’s West Side ... along with large parts of Brooklyn, Harlem and so on, you understand it’s not only Bush and Rummy who are liars. Does any one else’s stomach turn when Burden says that the West Chelsea plan (with it’s skyscrapers) are “in the Jacob’s mold?”
Is all this Jacobian self-flagellation merely revisionism, or outright stealing of a legacy? I suspect we’ll see more of it.
The important thing is to stand up to these people who pass for urban planners (quickly and appropriately becoming a discredited profession thanks to real estate shills like Mitchell Moss, Brad Lander and Jonathan Bowles), and to the news media of whatever stripe, hold them accountable and bear witness. Pope Jane is not your goddess!
It’s important, as Brewton suggests, that neighborhoods and communities are seen ... as he suggests ... as having grown from an incremental layering and adjusting of the neighborhood. This is good not only for the inter-connective web of community members. When you know the people and merchants on your block and beyond, it creates a sense of place, but also becomes a barrier to disinvestment.
Funny thing is, this view of incremental layering (in the last few decades) comes from a series of on-the-air essays by Eric Severied, that self-serving CBS “liberal” media commentator from the 1960’s. Heresy? Not really. Severied put more thought and analysis into his occasional three-minute essays than a full year of babble from the right-wing controlled media at CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. The notion of individual spontaneity and community is not an idea owned by the right-wing, and is not synonymous with extreme capitalism.
The one thing that got me about Brewton’s article, aside from some of the underlying substance, is that he is quick to label and blame “liberals” for killing Jane Jacobs vision. If nothing else, Jacobs was liberal, progressive, and leftist. So much so that she left her country when it had no clothes. Even Hanoi Jane didn’t go that far.
Doctoroff, Burden, Garvin and all the others are not liberal or progressive. They are in bed with large corporate developers ... who most of us see as conservative. While I have been quick to criticize neo-classic liberalism, it’s primary because those who see themselves in that model are, when the day is done, simply hacks (Quinn, Stringer, et al). And hacks sell out for gain, either personal, but more often political gain.
They simply want to destroy neighborhoods, drive out low-income tenants, hurt the people that do actually need the social programs, and turn the city into a homogenous suburbia (which does not have to be all white as long as it’s all rich). In the end, they climb the hack ladder.
But this is true for conservative hacks as well (Herman Badillo is a good example). So it’s unfortunate that recognizing a clearer view of Jacobs comes from drivel-driven Fox News wannabees.
Yes, the Tower-in-the-Park developments create snake pits of crime, but it’s a snake pit of corporations, developers-turned-politicians and hack politicians who wrap bad development in the guise of motherhood, apple pie, saving Broadway, the Olympics ... and now promises of jobs for minorities. No wonder groups like Working Families (AKA Wrecking Families) Party, Acorn, Drum Major Institute, Jobs with Justice are seeking one payoff after another for their so-called community, while destroying other local communities.
It’s ironic that a conservative journal is cheering the preservation of Greenwich Village. After all, isn’t that where all the lefty’s are?
In quoting Smith, would Brewton equally advocate measures to prevent large-scale destruction of neighborhoods by private developers without zoning and financial aid from City Hall? Would he advocate rent control, which we all know is the poster child of the left, but which also (before the Republicans and weak Democrats in Albany turned it into an actual subsidy in 1994) helped preserve the livability and viability of some of NYC’s best neighborhoods (Upper East Side and the Upper West Side)?
After all, that would be a limitation on capitalism, a regulation, a tempering of (what we see now) an overheated real estate market. Coming from a right-wing orthodox view, I doubt it.
So yes, chew on Jacobs because she thought. Although she created an orthodoxy in some circles, it wasn’t her fault. But you can’t have her. We don’t give her to Amanda Burden, the New York Times, or to Fox News.