September 27th, 2012

Is America played out?

Who would have thought that yesterday’s bagelhead thread would generate some pretty deep reflections? But here are some from commenter “Wolla Dalbo”:

This brings up the issue of just how do you motivate various groups of people, nations, races—the Japanese and much of Europe, for instance—when a critical mass of people in each one of these groupings have apparently given in to a hedonistic, decadent, self-absorbed, energy and will-sapping, world—weary, ennui…

Has these races, people’s, and nation’s time to shuffle off the stage of History just come? Are they just “played out”?

How do you re-ignite, make deeply meaningful, and central to everyone’s lives again a spirit, a world-view, whole systems of behavior and expectations that have apparently come to the end of their existence, have just finally become exhausted and devoid of meaning and energy?

This ties in with something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Bear with me, because it’ll take a bit of time for me to make the connection clear. But it relates to what Wolla (can I call you “Wolla”?) is saying about Japan, although I’m talking about America instead.

This election isn’t going well for Romney, and at the moment it’s looking up for Obama, especially in the swing states. We can spin the polls and criticize their design all we want (and there’s much to criticize), but the trend is not at all reassuring. I’ve discussed many of the reasons I think this is happening (here, for example)—chief among them the extraordinary bias of the MSM, which has increased to a degree that would almost be comical if it weren’t so effective.

That word “effective” is the key: why is Obama ahead despite his truly abysmal record? Why have the American people fallen prey to such blatant propaganda?

The answer, of course, is complex, and this essay won’t be able to do more than touch on a few ideas. But I have long seen it as a failure of the educational system, in particular the failure to teach critical thinking. It’s also a failure of attention; very few people take it all seriously enough to read in depth and learn for themselves, rather than to just scan headlines and be swayed by sound bites.

But surely some of that’s just human nature. Something else must have changed. Is it that the bias of the MSM has increased? Certainly it has if you’re comparing it to the 50s, but probably not if you’re comparing it to some earlier eras, when newspapers were very upfront and blatant about their biases. But perhaps it was that very forthrightness that may have saved the population from the sort of thing we’re seeing now, because at least those biased newspapers didn’t hold themselves out as occupying some Olympian height of neutrality, so that people could discern the spin better. Plus, the left-right bias of the press as a whole was not so monolithically skewed leftward.

But I think one of the most important “something else’s” that’s different is what Wolla was referring to in the quote I highlighted above. Wolla was talking about Japan and Europe, but he could just as easily have been talking about the US. No, we are not a race in the physiological sense, and not a people like the Japanese or the French or the Germans. But we are a nation with an ethos and a culture that has been unique in the world, one that we used to be proud to impart to each generation that comes along, and to all immigrants who reached our shores.

That is no longer the case. And Obama considers that a feature, not a bug. This has nothing to do with his race, and not much to do with controversies about his place of birth, either, although the latter issue is a metaphoric expression of concern about his relative lack of feel for the American ethos and culture.

And by “culture” I most certainly don’t mean popular trends or fads. I mean such deeply held beliefs as personal responsibility, patriotism, a sense of American exceptionalism in the world, and the feeling that immigrants need to adapt to our culture and language rather than clinging to their own. As Wolla asked:

How do you re-ignite, make deeply meaningful, and central to everyone’s lives again a spirit, a world-view, whole systems of behavior and expectations that have apparently come to the end of their existence, have just finally become exhausted and devoid of meaning and energy?

Obama is a symptom of that exhaustion, not a cause—although his second term is likely to exacerbate the process.

97 Responses to “Is America played out?”

  1. Basil Says:

    This is what leftism/socialism/progressivism is designed to do. Read Saul Alinsky. The IDEA of it is to sap the will out of the people and make them dependant upon the state. The nations of France and England were the pre-emminent powers in Europe from roughly 700 AD for over a thousand years. Until they discovered the idea of socialism. The idea that you are owed something by the government (or the society) regardless of your own contribution or effort, merely because you exist and especially because you are unsuccessful is an idea that cannot be overcome if it is accepted. It can only be rejected. Rationalization of entitlement is what I call it. We are going to see the ugly result of the resulting collapse within the next 15 to 20 years. The progressives think they can manage and profit from the destruction that they are causing. They are wrong. They will not do well in the chaos that follows.

  2. LisaM Says:

    The beliefs that you named, “…personal responsibility, patriotism, a sense of American exceptionalism in the world, and the feeling that immigrants need to adapt to our culture and language rather than clinging to their own,” have been the targets of the left for decades. They’ve ridiculed them and made them something to be ashamed of. Personal responsibility? You don’t care about poor people. And you’re racist. Patriotism? The Ugly American. Immigrants need to adapt? Racist. They did indeed bury us from within.

  3. hogwash Says:

    No, neo, it is a “sucess” of the “educational system”. The very last thing they wish to do is teach “Critical Thinking”.

    They want to completely eradicate any approaching free, independent and thoughtful electorate.

    If what you say is true, that Romney is going down, then it looks like the have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

    The corruption of education has not gone so far that it may be ipossible to reverse. To say the truth would get you kicked off campus.

    Oh, and they will do quite well in the “chaos” that follows. Look how long the USSR lasted; Look how well the people at the top of the communist Party have done in China.

    Mankind has existed for most of its history as ignorant slaves controlled by an educated elite. The West of the last 200 or 300 years is an exception to that rule, with the USA being a particular striking exception. No, the nation may perish, but not the elites–not unless there is a civil war of some sort.

    The end may not be chaos at all, just a dull beehive.

  4. Sam L. Says:

    And we call BullShit on them. Day by day, in every way, I call BULLSHIT on them.

  5. T Says:

    Neoneocon,

    As a longtime visitor I, perhaps for the first time think that I must take some serious issue with the opinions you present here. I’ll start out by noting that since these are opinions there clearly is no absolute right or wrong, just differing viewpoints and observations.

    My apologies up front for the length.


    “Why have the American people fallen prey to such blatant [media] propaganda?”

    Do we, in fact know that they have? Certainly it has happened in the past (the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor), but I am in touch with many people who refuse to swallow this malarky. Again, I repeat that 47% of the voting public did not buy the media bill-of-goods in 2008, and that was before there was any national proof that Obama was a fraud. This should be cause for hope, not despair.


    “Is it that the bias of the MSM has increased? Certainly it has if you’re comparing it to the 50s . . . .”

    I submit that the media was just as biased in the 1950s, it’s just that it was a bias that most Americans agreed with. The vocal minority (e.g., the Communist Party of America) would disagree that they got fair treatment in the media. It’s just that most Americans didn’t care because they saw the vocal minority as irrelevant or inimical.

    “newspapers were very upfront and blatant about their biases. But perhaps it was that very forthrightness that may have saved the population from the sort of thing we’re seeing now, because at least those biased newspapers didn’t hold themselves out as occupying some Olympian height of neutrality”

    Publishing Obama with a halo of light or in the visage of FDR is hardly neutral journalistic subtlety. Yes the media claims impartiality, but Obama can just as easily claim to be business friendly. No one but their respective ardent admirers believes them. A recent study (Rasmussen? Gallup?) polled that 60% of Americans distrust the media. Once again, the American public can see through the smoke and mirrors. This should be cause for hope.


    “But we are a nation with an ethos and a culture that has been unique in the world, one that we used to be proud to impart to each generation that comes along, and to all immigrants who reached our shores.

    That is no longer the case. . . . I mean such deeply held beliefs as personal responsibility, patriotism, a sense of American exceptionalism in the world, and the feeling that immigrants need to adapt to our culture and language rather than clinging to their own.”

    I agree that we are such a nation with a unique ethos and culture. Note that you use the present tense, not the past so I believe that you, yourself, still believe that we remain so. That ethos to which you refer still pervades our populace. Certainly it has burrowed beneath the surface in some of those for whom life has become easier than it was for their ancestors, but I submit it’s still there. It’s quite literally in our DNA!

    We are the descendants of people from across the world who gave up everything to take a chance on this upstart country which dared to offer hope to the hopeless. Let me repeat that: They gave up everything! That same spirit is still alive. Submerged in some, but right on the surface of the new immigrants who rush to this country to participate in the same hope that my grandparents and our ancestors did one hundred years ago and earlier.

    It’s still in our DNA, and I have been singing this same song on this site (among others) since an initial discussion on your thread about English as a national language in March of last year. People still flock to this country, not for the promise of something for nothing, but foir the promise of building a better life. That promise is still so poignant and so truly real that people will illegally enter this country if need be. The testimony that the U.S. would need to construct a wall to keep people out, unlike the wall in Berlin, is a probative reminder that the American dream is still alive and well.

    I am reminded of something I read some time ago about the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam. The author noted that Tet was a military disaster North Viet Nam, but their propaganda bonanza. Part of this, he claimed, was because many of the young journalists had never before been in a war zone. This, even though the enemy was being repelled, the sights, sounds and commotion of warfare led them to believe that this was a disaster for us. In short, they couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

    We too, are not battlehardened as out ancestors were. Life has become easy and we have become intimidated in our fight with this current Balrog, but every generation, every single person fights this fight at least once.

    We should not despair. Do not believe the myth that the surface of the pond tells us anything about its depth. It is time for us to gird our metaphorical loins and rise to the occasion that the American promise demands. As Frederick the Great advised: “L’audace! L’audace! Toujours l’audace!”

  6. Bill West Says:

    Perhaps we’re looking at a phenomenon that is common in the world of substance-abuse recovery: we haven’t “hit bottom” yet.

    Michael Barone’s column reminded me of something I have been ignoring as I work with quite a few people in their twenties, that they are smart and independent minded. THey want customized playlists and products, delivered in the way they prefer as individuals. This is in sharp contrast to high-speed rail between two places they don’t want to go.

    My young friends easily see the economic folly of the current administration, but they are one-issue voters, be it on gay issues or abortion. They are indeed subject to the “cool factor”, and think that Obama is closer to them than a corporate maven.

    They will wake up and see the hole that they helped dig. They will not like the healthcare that grows out of the reform that they supported. They will eventually find a leader who taps into that spirit that brought about the astounding standard of living that they now take for granted.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    T: we don’t disagree as much as you may think.

    I’m not saying that I know how many people have fallen prey to propaganda; perhaps it’s not even half. I just don’t know. But I do know that it’s way too many, and that IMHO Obama should only be getting about 25% of the vote. He should have no chance.

    But you reminded me of a point I’ve made in the comments section before but I don’t think I’ve ever written a post on it; maybe I should. I agree that more people distrust the media. And yet the media affects them with its drip drip drip, and even influences the thought of a certain percentage of people who don’t trust it.

    It’s something like advertising:

    …much of the media influence on people is not at a conscious level for the viewer. That’s why I posted an excerpt from Brave New World in a recent thread where I discussed the ubiquity of CNN.

    People in advertising know this principle, I think. I remember hearing that even if viewers are annoyed by ads, they are more likely to buy the product if they see the ads.

    As far as media bias goes, I can’t prove it, but it is my distinct impression that media since my childhood has become more biased in favor of the Democratic candidate (not, of course, more biased in favor of American values; au contraire). I cannot remember, for the most part, the sort of automatic and immediate attacks being directed at one candidate by the press, and the automatic and immediate defense of another by that same press, that you see every day today. The press seemed more evenhanded in general, and less “gotcha” even towards the candidate it didn’t like. That’s not to say it was evenhanded or respectful, just more so than today.

  8. davisbr Says:

    Well met, T, well met indeed.

    Better yet, I have a new “saying”:

    De l’audace! Encore de l’audace! Et toujours de l’audace!

    …if it was good enough for George Patton ….

    Kudos!

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    davisbr: You and the spambot :-).

  10. Bob from Virginia Says:

    One wonders whether the MSM is laying the groundwork for their rapid demise. If Obama wins there will certainly economic and political chaos of some sort. Once the the nannies who voted for him start to feel pain they will look for someone to blame for misleading them.

    But I’m dreaming of course, anyone dump enough to vote for Obama twice is probably not very self-aware.

  11. T Says:

    Neoneocon,

    “IMHO Obama should only be getting about 25% of the vote. He should have no chance”

    How does the U.S.S. Obama continue to float with its rotten timbers and the holes in its hull? Look beneath the surface, it’s being held afloat by a media underwater and holding its breath.

    . . . But they can’t hold their breath forever, and their arms will get tired. The process has already begun.

    Obama should have no chance? He doesn’t!

  12. davisbr Says:

    Neo: LOL. Somehow I missed it that day. At least, “missed it enough to not have googled it” lol.

    But somewhat along these same lines (though from a different perspective), the also ever interesting Sarah Hoyt has a post worth reading today, y’all, too: Nerves.

  13. Mr. Frank Says:

    One explanation I do not see is that Obama has actually benefited from the bad economy because it is so bad. So many people have dropped out of the labor force with no hope of returning that they want a nanny state. So many people are hopelessly in debt that they want a president who appears to care. The video currently linked on Drudge of the woman who is going to vote for Obama says it all. She does not want a job.

    I fear that the left has won the culture war. They control the media, entertainment, and education. At some point we will hit the wall as western and southern Europe has. Then we riot and wonder what went wrong. As Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.

  14. physicsguy Says:

    Personal anecdote on the demise of “personal responsibility” : My daughter is a freshman in college and was very proud to be on the soccer team… worked for this since she was 4yrs old. At the beginning of the season the coach declared that the team would be “dry”. Everyone was following the rules, even seniors and juniors who are over 21; except for 3 freshmen starters. They got caught once by the seniors and warned, got caught again and the seniors made them run and warned them next time coach hears about it. Well, you guessed it, they got caught again last weekend. The coach’s response: well they’re starters, we’ll forgive them… She went ahead and kept them in their starting positions. The rest of the team is ripped, but what can they do?

    Rules for thee but not for me. Why have personal responsibility when there are no consequences for abandoning such? Not much different from, “I get free stuff from Obama, I don’t need to work!” The culture has indeed changed.

  15. carl in atlanta Says:

    I second davisbr’s recommendation of Sarah Hoyt’s piece today. That last word she used gave me goosebumps.

    Neo’s comments about the apparent loss of our national ethos are also apt; during the course of my lifetime we seem to have lost many of those common folkways and mores that are the incorporeal “glue” of functioning societies: thousands of shared beliefs, customs, values and ways of doing things, many, if not most of them existing at a subconscious level. Almost by definition, a society cannot exist without a common culture (see, e.g, the Balkans). Have we become Balkanized? From where I sit it certainly looks that way.

    We’re definitely approaching something here, something that is very scary.

  16. T Says:

    “The culture has indeed changed”

    Couldn’t diagree more. There have always been freeloaders and there always will be. There have always been people who will impose rules and regulations on everyone but their own chosen few.
    There is nothing new under the sun here and this is an issue that is confronted in generation after generation and culture after culture.

    Human behavior hasn’t changed in over 40,000 years. There have always been “bosses sons,” always will be.

  17. kaba Says:

    The NFL Official’s strike appears to be resolved; Honey Boo Boo’s ratings appear to be doing well; and Lady Gaga has gained a pound or two. All is right with the world.

    More bread and circuses please!

  18. Mr. Frank Says:

    Anyone who has not worked in the field of education (k-12 or college) does not know how bad our decline has been.

  19. T Says:

    Neo,

    you responded “The press seemed more evenhanded in general . . . .”

    Perhaps the operative word here is “seemed.” When the media has a hegemony (CBS, ABC, NBC) and when that hegemony sees itself as a group rather than in competition with each other then you have a media that can spike stories.

    Was it a sign of evenhandedness that none of the networks covered JFK’s dalliances but crucified Nixon for Watergate? Who ever took the New York Times’ Walter Duranty to task or reported evenhandedly about Sen. Joe McCarthy or the House Committee on UnAmerican activities?

    Perhaps the seeming evenhandedness of the press in earlier times has more to do with their ability to surreptitiously spike stories they didn’t want told, coupled with the reveries of our own youth. Who at 10 years of age really gives a tinker’s dam about what the media, any media, are up to? For most people, childhood is always a reverie not because problems don’t exist, but because they’re taken care of by Mom and Dad and as children were oblivious to them. Just as our 10 year olds today have no conception of the problems of the world (nor should they) I grew up under the threat of nuclear holocaust and I still think my childhood was a remarkable wonderful peaceful time. Nuclear holocaust—in reality it doesn’t get any scarier than that.

  20. davisbr Says:

    @carl in atlanta September 27th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I second davisbr’s recommendation of Sarah Hoyt’s piece today. That last word she used gave me goosebumps.

    …We’re definitely approaching something here, something that is very scary.

    Hmm …it must be the meme today, something running through our common (if you will) psyche.

    For a two linkie day, Claudia Rosette In the Shadow of Ahmadinejad’s Hotel.

    …the money quote was the last sentence (the whole paragraph follows, for context):

    Where is this all going? Usually I like strolling down Sixth Avenue on a warm evening in early autumn. Wednesday night, when I left the area of the Warwick Hotel, I was full of unease. I had the sense of looking in on an unnerving sliver of history — a UN gathering where the most memorable act of America’s president was to hand out White House gift souvenirs on daytime TV, while Iran’s messenger dispensed threats from the heart of Manhattan. It feels like a time of growing shadows. Churchill had a phrase for it: the gathering storm.

    Is that what we’re all feeling? Thinking?

    Seeing?

    The gathering storm …?

    …I’m getting creeped out. I think I need a panacean bike ride around the ‘hood on my old Raleigh, talking about life with my sweetie.

    …which is my usual approach to when I need to do something physical to feel “normal”.

  21. parker Says:

    I believe the MSM has prime responsibility for much of the malaise and sense of futility that many Americans are experiencing today. Plus, five decades of an ever expanding welfare state have created entrenched dependency and destroyed any sense of a work ethic for a significant minority of our fellow citizens. Yet, I’m more on the “T” side of this issue.

    47% did not vote for HOPE & CHANGE in 2008 despite a nosedive in the markets and the hysteric blame Bush propaganda during the fall of that year. In 2010 the democrats, and more importantly Obama, were repudiated at the polls. 2008 was the outlier, 2010 was the harbinger.

    A personal comment about education…. I work at a small (226 students) elementary school in flyover country. Every morning every child faces the flag and repeats the pledge of allegiance to the republic for which it stands. During the 5th and 6th grades students study state history, the revolutionary war, the Constitution and the founding of the nation. By the time they leave the 6th grade they have a sound understanding of the difference between pure democracy and the limitations imposed on government by a republic. They are proud to be an Iowan and they are proud to be Americans. Go Hawkeyes!

  22. southpaw Says:

    “Why have the American people fallen prey to such blatant [media] propaganda?”

    Neo I would submit a simple explanation. Most people vote for change when it’s in their personal interest to do so, not for the greater good, or the children’s future, or some other abstract concept. In spite of how bad we think things are, they aren’t that bad for a majority of people. I should stop typing, because it’s really that simple — to me anyway.

    We are from a generation that remembers something about sacrificing for your kids and wanting things to be better for them. I would say we might be the last that heard that as a group, but I know a lot of people older than me and retired, who only subscribe to the “what’s in it for me” thinking.
    It’s now a myth in modern America that we are somehow different from any other socialist country, and that freedom and liberty is what we stand for. That time passed us by a long time ago, only we are now just realizing it.
    If you’re right and Obama wins, I think it’s clear that most Americans are happy to depend on govt. aid, especially as it is easy to obtain and plentiful. And there’s no longer a stigma associated with taking a handout – over the last 30 years we’ve been told that everybody is a victim of something. If govt. has done anything well, it’s convince people they are never at fault for any personal choice and have no responsibility for themselves. You don’t have to pay your credit card, your mortgage, or your bills, because you are a victim of banks or other predatory capitalists. If you suggest somebody is lazy, you’re insensitive. Is their a lazier man than our current president?
    Now along comes a guy who says he’s looking to upset the status quo — MANY people have been unemployed for the whole time Obama has been president. Those 14 million who have given up looking for work? Who’s taking care of them? They must be doing ok. They’re alive and well, and evidently no worse off than they were. Some are probably doing better collecting benefits and working for cash under the table. A lot of others are afraid to go back after 3 or 4 years of inactivity, and as long as nothing changes, nobody will ask them to.
    So you have to conclude a majority of people are not personally affected by the state of the economy, gas prices, taxes, etc, and there’s nothing motivating them to change the way things are.
    Foreign affairs? Unless their neighborhood blows up, there’s no personal interest in it. I would bet a lot of money a large majority are even annoyed with the coverage and don’t care to watch a bunch of people half a world away, in their living rooms yelling death to America. They could care less – there’s nothing personally compelling there.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    T: actually, it was a sign of evenhandedness in that in general, sexual stuff was off-limits in terms of candidates from either party, unless they flaunted it publicly, such as Wilbur Mills with Fanne Foxe, and Gary Hart—both Democrats, by the way.

    No one dug into the sexual proclivities of JFK or LBJ (despite the fact that the press disliked him), or for that matter Eisenhower, who was a Republican (they might have done so with Nixon, I suppose, except I don’t think he ever gave them anything to go on).

    The point is that things considered personal were for the most part kept personal unless they were flaunted. I’m thinking also of health problems. The press kept the extent of FDR’s disability hidden, and they covered for Kennedy as well (who was a very sick man; not sure how much the press knew of that at the time, though), but they also did not exploit the more public health problems of Eisenhower (severe heart attack; see this) or his rumored affair (which may or may not have occurred; see this).

    In contrast, Watergate was not a personal matter.

    Which is not to say (as I wrote in the post) that the press wasn’t biased back then and that it didn’t play favorites. But the tone was very different, and certain things were considered off limits, unless they came unavoidably to public attention.

  24. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Neo—you can, indeed, call me Wolla—the name of a distant Dutch ancestor who settled in what was to become Salem county, N.J. very early on, sometime around the 1680s or earlier, if records are to be believed.

    Since the discussion you quote from was about Japan, I focused on Japan and Europe, but from all that I have read and observe all around me I believe that something like that same “played out” syndrome is applicable to us here in the U.S. However, with the proviso that the Left has helped various historical, social, and economic trends along immeasurably in order to deliberately, and more quickly bring this situation about, through their almost 70 year Gramscian campaign of all spectrum attacks against all of the fundamental building blocks of our society—the family, the church, education, the Arts, etc.

    All this in order to “reframe” their pitch and the debate, and to change the character of the “Greatest Generation” audience that, almost to a man, rejected Communism during the Great Depression and in WWII. To “transform” today’s “audience” into an generally much less certain and self-assured, but much more anxious, dissatisfied, and less alert, less truly educated, less informed, less patriotic, less religious, and now a much more gullible, propagandized, accepting audience, one that would go for their offer the second time around, dressed up today in new clothes; lipstick slapped on a mean, feral, grunting, drooling, stinking, 600 pound Pig.

    In gathering background information for my genealogical research I’ve done a lot of reading about our early settlers and their history and the conditions they lived in, and come away with an immense respect for their struggles, tenacity, grit, vision, and sacrifices.

    Insulated by their sacrifices and accomplishments and back-breaking toil from the often deadly reality they lived and struggled in (and that most of the world still lives in today, or that we would live in again were the Power turned off, or our computer-run, high tech civilization fell prey to an EMP attack), distant heirs to a bank account they filled up, and to surpluses, infrastructure, and conditions they created, supposedly more “educated” and “sophisticated” than they were, aware of a world that is not their mostly black and white world, a world of Honor and consequences, a world of God and the Devil, but rather aware of and convinced of the reality of the world of “a thousand shades of gray” (and excuses), we are not the mostly hard and hard to fool, independent and stubborn, clear-sighted, determined, brave, moral, usually upright, and full of common sense and grit people that they were, and we are becoming less so by the day.

    In our “sophistication” and “nuance” we are becoming “educated fools,” the new country bumpkins who have been sold an unseen “pig in a poke” by a sharpie at the Fair, and who are surprised when they open up their sack on the way home, to find out that they have been swindled, and have “let the cat out of the bag.”

    History, greatly aided and accelerated by the Left, has—as it does to all peoples, nations, and civilizations–done a number on us, and without the old “Iron Triangle” of family—school—church–that inculcated and reinforced an American Credo that made us generally one nation, with a common identity and vision, Americans and strong, we have been deliberately Balkanized, our country, and its great men, history, values, and accomplishments trashed and twisted, and us divided into warring racial, ethnic, sexual, and economic groups, and many among us often painted as helpless “victims,” our cohesion and, therefore, our strength greatly weakened and dissipated, our vision deliberately blinkered and obscured, with the Left’s “community organizers” offering to fix our problems, if only we give them our power, and our money, and our votes.

    When Religion was largely banished from the public square, with it went the moral teachings in our schools that saw to it that we all had a fairly common, general moral foundation, a set of expectations and benchmarks, and knew what was expected of us, with severe consequences if we didn’t meet them.

    When policing went from the cop on the beat who knew everyone and what was going on, to the patrol car that sped by our house once a week or even once a month, and pettifogging lawyers and lose moral and legal codes that let crimes of all kinds increase and made excuses for all of them, all of us became less secure; the con men, chiselers, and criminals triumphant, and laughing at us.

    Filling many of these voids that were left by the old closeness and community, the old certainties, ways, attitudes, customs, and teachings, popularly referred to by some as “the hole inside us,” were things, which at least for several post WWII decades we used to be good at making, but which we now import from places that are increasingly far away—one of my not very well-made shirts has a tag that says “United Arab Emirates,” another that says “Romania,” and almost everything else these days says either “Japan” or “China,” and we trade our patrimony away for such trinkets. Tell me, just who are the “natives” today, selling Manhattan for a few glittering strings of beads?

    It is often said that the frequent comparisons of today’s United States and Americans to the Romans and their Republic then Empire is way too facile, but it seems to me that we have at least imitated the Romans in reinventing—and especially so and at a more rapid rate under Obama–the always volatile and threatening ”Mob” that so constrained later Roman politics.

    Derided by the Left, “Progressives,” and today’s “sophisticates” as far too harsh, unenlightened, and rigid, outmoded, and “old-fashioned,” I happen to think that many of the “old ways,” attitudes, customs, expectations, and behaviors that nourished and guided our country on its climb to its present precarious height would be extremely beneficial if re-implemented. But, as I asked in my comment on the quoted thread, “how to reignite.”

    Rant off.

  25. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    If Obama wins, it signifies that the MSM’s kool-aid has been effective enough.

    One of the founding fathers of the left was Friedrich Nietzsche who said, “There are no facts, only interpretations.” (one wonders whether, on Nietzsche’s death bed, he realized that here indeed was an objective fact, that couldn’t be ‘interpreted’…)

    Nietzsche’s premise that there is no objective reality, only personal, subjective interpretation gave rise to post-modernism, which is, along with Communism, the cornerstone of the left.

    Dostoevsky understood the deepest consequence of Nietzsche’s premise; “If there is no God, everything is permitted.

    When anything you can get away with is permitted, then morality and reason are personal constructs, inapplicable to anyone who disagrees because objective reality, the basis for social agreement has been lost.

    Hedonism, personal gain and the power to impose one’s view of reality upon others become the highest ‘values’.

    No society can long survive whose basis is personal aggrandizement because that is essentially the “law of the jungle” the antithesis of civilization.

    A sort of moral ‘black hole’ is created pulling individuals and society’s cultural values into its maw.

    Nature however does not tolerate a vacuum (it turns out that in absolute terms, even space is not truly ‘empty’) so something must fill that societal space.

    In that type of chaotic situation, generally the most ruthless prevail.

    Whether right wing deaths squads, leftist totalitarians, criminal war lords or fanatic Islamic jihadists, the barbarians will be at the gate.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    T: well, I was a really weird kid, I guess. I cared a lot about the news, including (as you point out from your youth) the threat of nuclear holocaust. I never felt my parents could protect me from anything like that. See this:

    On my first day of kindergarten I was issued a set of metal dog tags with my name and address and instructed to wear them around my neck at all times. I don’t know whether this was a national policy, or one limited to New York, but everyone in our school was given them, although few of us ended up wearing them (we were also supposed to bring a handkerchief to school every day, and I forgot that too, and regularly got marked down for it). I knew exactly what the dog tags were for, though, thanks to my best friend. If we were bombed and blown to bits, she explained, and there were no bodies left, the dog tags would help them identify the pieces (ah, those innocent pre-DNA days!).

    So I grew up with the idea of war and danger hovering very near, although the danger never did materialize on our shores. Later there were the famous “duck-and-cover” drills, which seemed useless even then, in a war that was likely to be catastrophically nuclear. There was once an even more elaborate citywide drill in which all the schools and businesses closed prematurely at a certain pre-planned time in the early afternoon, and we were all supposed to get home immediately, or to go to another pre-arranged place where a trusted adult would be waiting. We had about 15-minutes’ time to get there.

    This latter drill was supposed to mimic the way it would be if we actually got a warning that a fleet of ICBMs had been launched and was zinging our way from Russia. I viewed my lonely walk home that day as an exercise in going there to die, not to be safe–for how could home ever protect me from that? The eerie, silent, nearly car-free streets I walked along half convinced me, a child with an overactive imagination, that this was the real thing. As I looked up at the sky I could almost see the warheads coming, so real did it all seem.

  27. Oldflyer Says:

    I think part of the problem is that everything is just so “big” now that people feel a little helpless to affect their environment.

    On a personal level I see people accepting routine assaults that would have been outrageous previously. But, they feel helpless to affect the institutions.

    To bring it from the macro to the micro, i am now in a position to be involved with high school grand children. Both are athletes. It cost their parent literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars for them to have the privilege of competing for their high school–in low cost sports like track and cross country. At the same time, California will be voting for Governor Moonbeam’s proposed tax increase for –education (allegedly). No one seems to question, or if they do question, get answers to how huge sums are spent, yet services are so skimpy. Too big. Just go along.

    Another phenomenon that I am now privy to is the total lack of standards. When I saw my beautiful, accomplished, and well-behaved grand daughter dressed to go to school, I was sure that she would be sent home in disgrace. Then I saw her classmates.

    It is my observation that there is a generation of wonderful kids out there who do not understand standards because they have never been exposed to them, much less required to meet them. One exception; the ones who are committed to athletics are held to very high performance standards, if not to behavioral ones.

    Cultural standards, even in a minimal sense, seems to be an archaic concept. My generation is at fault. We were raised by the depression era and WWII parents; but it was our kids who were the teenagers and young adults of the late 60s, the 70s and 80s. I can remember intelligent friends saying things like, “how can we say no, when everyone else is doing it”. Or, “if we put our foot down, and alienate them, it could be worse”. The mantra was, “at least they aren’t doing drugs (we hope)”. So, the foot was placed on the slippery slope and the slide began.

  28. Oldflyer Says:

    I forgot to answer the title question. In my opinion, yes.

    I do not think the strong, robust, force for good America, that I knew in my younger years will ever exist again. I do not think our internal politics will ever again emphasize personal freedom and responsibility over the welfare state, with all of its embellishments and restrictions on individuals.

    Part of the present attitude about the role of government in our personal lives began with FDR, and accelerated under LBJ–and nearly every President and Congress since. The Supreme Court has been a willing ally. What the Federal government has ignored, states, such as California, have rushed to fill the void.

    On the world stage it began with Vietnam. Maybe actually with Korea. I think there was a little spike of pride with G.H.W. Bush’s forceful defense of Kuwait–and Saudi Arabia. There was another short term one after 9-11. But, these faded fast.

    Too late to go back. Maybe the slide can be slowed or even arrested; but at best we can glimpse what we will be as a nation.
    I think I will be gone before it gets too bad.

  29. physicsguy Says:

    Oldflyer,

    “One exception; the ones who are committed to athletics are held to very high performance standards, if not to behavioral ones.”

    See my post above. I thought so too, but even the coaches have drunk the Kool-aid. I have two daughters, both very accomplished athletes in soccer. Both have played at premier level since 8 years old. To witness what I have in the past week on the part of a college coach (DII nonetheless) has been shocking. Maybe T would say I have been just naive.

  30. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Speaking in broad generalities, the baby boomers certainly deserve to be categorized as the “most harmful generation”, ever. One characteristic of the baby boomers was their idealism. Clearly, they never understood the moral lesson that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” nor did they honor “the law of unintended consequences”.

    BUT the ‘Greatest Generation’ has their share of the blame to accept. The parents of the baby boomers spoiled their children. They never taught them that actions have consequences and, that character is determined by the actions we take, when to do so is to our personal detriment.

    But perhaps the greatest failure of the Greatest Generation and the generations that preceded them was in their inability to articulate why traditions and the traditional cultural values they embody matter.

    Instead the majority of the Greatest Generation settled for the intellectually lazy response of, “because I said so!” when questioned by their children.

    Another example of the simple dictum, “If you can’t explain it in simple terms, you don’t understand it”.

    The origins of the current generational low that we have declined to, extend well before the Baby Boomers.

  31. Eric Says:

    When I visited a childhood friend in Japan a few years ago, I found their present-day (as opposed to traditional) culture to be odd. Not bad or harmful or unenjoyable, just … odd. It’s as though when the Japanese disavowed Bushido, their warrior ethos, after WW2, they amputated their chauvinistic national essence and filled the space with a post-modern mash.

    In the US, our prevailing mentality is a consumer mentality. It goes beyond just buying stuff. It shapes our civic outlook. We reject hard choices. We expect to pick and choose what we want and leave the unpleasant things we don’t want. And to stretch the analogy, we buy what we want on credit if we can’t afford it. The value of the responsible citizen who takes the long view has decayed.

    With my experience in Japan in mind, I look to our military community for the solution. I don’t want the blunt Maoist solution of militarizing American society – that would destroy us. But I do want American culture to become tougher, more clear-headed, and on the competitive world stage, more chauvinistic. Think of Africanized honey bees and cross-breeding. How do we inject the values of the American warrior, splice our Bushido DNA, into our civic culture?

    I believe the cultural solution is to organize veterans who are leaving the military so they can hold onto their warrior ethos as they transition into civilian life. Empower veterans as civilians to spread the needed military values virally as the veterans spread throughout civil society. A good example of an incubator of veterans in civil society is the student-veterans group at Columbia University in NYC:
    http://milvets.columbia.edu/

    I figure a bunch of young war veterans who are fraternally connected and starting their civilian careers armed with an Ivy League pedigree can only do good.

  32. DonS Says:

    The “Greatest Generation” came of age while FDR was POTUS and social security was created and the most destructive supreme court decisions came about.

    When they were in charge they gave us medicare, medicaid, welfare, the 1968 gun control act, the EPa, the department of education, etc.

  33. DonS Says:

    My view is that an Obama win is “game over” for this country, but not just because of Obama but waht it says about us, the people.

  34. KLSmith Says:

    Neo : your post made me think of C.S.Lewis’ book Abolition of Man.
    “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst”.
    All civilizations decline, it is inevitable. Good hardworking, trusting people go about their business while nefarious schemers and their dupes take advantage of the the good people that are too busy or trusting to notice.
    It is probably going to get a lot worse before, and if, it gets better.
    Being a pessimist, I think the termites have been eating away at our foundation for decades. And that a human Cat 5 hurricane began blowing on Nov 4, 2008.

  35. rickl Says:

    This has been a great post and comment thread. There’s too much here for me to sort out and address.

    Sarah Hoyt has been on fire lately. The last word of her post linked above:

    Waiting.

    That describes my state of mind since the evening of November 4, 2008, when I knew with utter certainty that the U.S. was irrevocably on the path to civil war. I’m frankly surprised that the shooting hasn’t already started.

    52% of my alleged “fellow citizens” voted to enslave me. I have a serious problem with that. And they may well do it again in six weeks’ time.

  36. T Says:

    Neoneocon,

    I grew up in Pittsburgh which, as NYC, was a primary nuclear target due to the steel industry. We were never issued dog tags so perhaps it was a particular New York approach. We, too, did the duck-and-cover drills and I remember the regularly scheduled siren tests, the Conalrad tests on the radio (remember the two Conalrad insignias on the AM dial?) and the Civil Defense placards indicating a safe refuge. I was 10 years old at the time of the Cuban missle crisis.

    Here is, I guess, where we differ. None my memories of that time have the clarity w/ regard to danger that you mention. The duck-and-cover drills were, for me at least, welcome interludes from school work and I clearly remember never fretting about the Cuban missile crisis because I just knew they would solve the problems. Perhaps it was childhood niavete. There was fear about quite a few things, but never about any of this and I was not then, nor am I now a Pollyannish optimist.

    It is interesting to compare our distinctly different memories of the same events.

  37. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    That word “effective” is the key: why is Obama ahead despite his truly abysmal record? Why have the American people fallen prey to such blatant propaganda?

    THEY AREN’T.

    I’m just not seeing it.

    Go ahead, look over the Yahoo news page, and look for ANY story, positive or negative, about politics that even touches on the race for the PotUS.

    Now look at the comments section. Count the number of pro-O comments, and the number of Anti-O comments.

    Now look at the number of thumbs up-thumbs down for the pro-O and the anti-O.

    There’s just no comparison. The anti-O is up your your neck while the pro-O wouldn’t wet your bare feet.

    That’s not a scientific study, but it’s indicative for sure… the commentariat should be much closer to even for it to be even 50-50, much less 50+ FOR Obama.

  38. rickl Says:

    Yes, the rot has been growing and spreading for decades.

    Several years ago I read an essay by Garet Garrett, “The Revolution Was”. It was written in 1938 about the New Deal. I rediscovered it recently, and the complete text is at the above link. Here is the beginning:

    There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.

    There are those who have never ceased to say very earnestly, “Something is going to happen to the American form of government if we don’t watch out.” These were the innocent disarmers. Their trust was in words. They had forgotten their Aristotle. More than 2,000 years ago he wrote of what can happen within the form, when “one thing takes the place of another, so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about revolution in the state.”

    Worse outwitted were those who kept trying to make sense of the New Deal from the point of view of all that was implicit in the American scheme, charging it therefore with contradiction, fallacy, economic ignorance, and general incompetence to govern.

    But it could not be so embarrassed and all that line was wasted, because, in the first place, it never intended to make that kind of sense, and secondly, it took off from nothing that was implicit in the American scheme. It took off from a revolutionary base. The design was European. Regarded from the point of view of revolutionary technic it made perfect sense. Its meaning was revolutionary and it had no other. For what it meant to do it was from the beginning consistent in principle, resourceful, intelligent, masterly in workmanship, and it made not one mistake.

    (Emphasis mine.) Sound familiar?

  39. T Says:

    Oldflyer,

    You identified the source of the problem when you wrote: “I can remember intelligent friends saying things like, ‘how can we say no, when everyone else is doing it’. Or, ‘if we put our foot down, and alienate them, it could be worse.’”

    It all centers around the parents. But be of good cheer, I have seen many, many examples of the opposite of what you identify.

    “If we put our foot down it could be worse” is nothing more than a bull$h!t response; the real fear is “they won’t think I’m their friend.” I never wanted to be my young children’s friend; I couldn’t be. I had to be their parent.

    “How can we say no?” The only response to that is the old “if all your friends jump off of a bridge . . . .” I work with several young people in our local civic group and I am not just impressed by their common sense and vision but I value their judgement and criticism quite highly. They are parents and I fully expect their children to carry on their traits. Like my own children I fully expect them to be most capable carrying on a future although I simultaneously feel embarrassed for the sorry state we leave to them.

    I am about to become a grandparent for the first time and the best advice I could give to my son, since he asked for it outright, it to always insure that your actions are congruent with your words. It doesn’t just provide a child with a good example, but it makes one’s own words credible and worthy in one’s own child’s ears. And most importantly, if you are not congruent, no matter how much you scheme to hide it, they’ll know.

  40. Artfldgr Says:

    so your back on to wanting the answers to this, and yet, you do not want to give credit where credit is due…

    and you never will, because the things that did it are so normalized you just don’t know how you could live without them…

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the message was lost.
    For want of a message the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

    can i rewrite it, since i am very tired of showing who should take credit, and who did what, and what their names are, what they said, and all that… and still have the discussion revolve around natural action…

    ie. don’t you yet get that when a movement of mass control gets a footing, NOTHING is ever NATURAL again?

    How can you see a con, when your not allowed to see a con?

    your discussions remind me of the discussions in the 70s as to whether wrestling was fake. of course it was fake, but you couldn’t convince people of it.

    same thing here… as long as ALL ANSWERS are not on the table, and ALL facts… any analysis you do is WORTHLESS…

    would you accept a doctor prescribing drugs for a condition without examining you, or talking to you, and telling you what you feel?

    i could quote maslow from chapter 12 in motivations… but who cares?

    ANY analysis would have to start with FACTS… omission of salient facts, or jumping to the middle of the story to start it, avoids the problem.

    ie. ignore the cancer, treat the symptom… don’t go to the root of the problem, and you will find dandelions forever.

    when you and others say crap like this, i have to say, crap like this…

    The answer, of course, is complex, and this essay won’t be able to do more than touch on a few ideas. But I have long seen it as a failure of the educational system, in particular the failure to teach critical thinking.

    but have you gotten back to the nail?
    or did you arbitrarily start in the middle, which then traditionally hides the culprits? its as if, this analysis is being presented to help erase the blame, NOT find it, understand it, and unravel it..

    who and what created public schools?
    who forced parents at gunpoint?
    what union dominated by who, took over it?
    what caucus voted for it and decided our fate?

    Why are there almost no men in education any more, except old professors retiring?

    when things had morals, families, and we fought for whats right and freedom, it was a patriarchy… its been a matriarchy for a long long time, and like dems blaming republicans for what they did, the ladies have played the same game blaming the men… (and so, we moved more and more away from natural order denied as such, to unnatural order upraised as natural – Hegel is laughing).

    go watch the VIEW and see them go wacko on the new book mugged…

    Women taught they were nothing by feminists climbed down from their perch, and took residence in the gutter…

    EVERY major change that leads to this was done by them… they were the only ones that everyone would listen to. Why else do you think they are bribing them like nuts? and not bribing the men? cause men cant be bought as easily! c

    are for an apple from a tree for a promise of something never received to facilitate someone else’s goals?

    what was the temptation? was it the same?
    did they get what they were promised?
    who got what they wanted using them?

    are their strong superior ego’s enough to admit it, or like Thelma and Louise we have to drive off the cliff?

    want to guess? human events has an article pointing out that the president, the dems, the census, and all that, are saying 2041 whites become a minority.

    in fact, if you add up women, and minorities, you get a 2/3 sized voting block that HATES the scapegoat and is collecting free stuff from them as recompense!

    ie… obama is giving the store away to women who will vote for more and as payback to those evil men that have oppressed them since before humans were human (so they say)

    and they are bribing the heck out of minorities too…

    ie. they built this huge block by creating hate between men and women… but it did something else too…

    what are the ONLY two things that would stop a man from fighting for his family? Killing him, and his wife tells him not to, or will leave him if he does. what use is defending something that wont be defended.

    so… for 40 years plus, men have refused to fight for morals, and all that…

    if you can cast away the FALSE facts from ideology, the past starts to make a lot more sense..

    THERE is absolutely now way to stop this train wreck because women have endless wants which they want provided for. when they had mates, that was how they egged them on to get more… without mates, they want freebie after freebie, even the ones who say they dont… (they just avoid the easy ones)

    a woman wants the state to pay for birth control
    child care… education… healthcare… etc.

    now, if you go back to the early days, when they devloped this name calling method that THEN moved to other areas… you might hear the arguments that once women had no mates, they would marry the state.

    and they did… (so the “oppressors” were right)

    its real interesting to watch the youtube videos of those old things… but i guess not as interesting as freaks and jello

    so it wasn’t what petulant kids said it was when told no… it was what adults said it was who could not convince the petulant.

    and the truth is, you have to love your country enough to oppose the disease.

    in case you didn’t notice, it gave them control of the womens unions… teachers unions… and so, feminists started to indoctrinate and impinge boys, and so on. [they certainly never pulled back anywhere any form of parity was reached!]

    so… as marx said. you have to get women into industry so their labor can be taxed and then given back to them… and that would then force kids into the hands of the state and no one would have time to over see it… and fathers were out before that in having say.

    so… from then on… unless you stoped that, the end result was the cohesian from feral familyless peoples…

    the soviets did this and you expect a different outcome?

  41. T Says:

    Artfl dgr,

    You are a long-time valued commenter and have oftentimes presented many salient facts and ideas, yet lately you have taken to constructing your posts as though they were attacks on anyone who has the temerity to disagree with your position.

    We have here an exchange of ideas and opinions, not despotic impositions of some greater truth handed down from on high.

    We are happy to have you participate in these discussions.

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    T: well, part of the difference is a difference in personality types, I’d imagine. But part of it was living in New York. I knew NY would be a target even when I was tiny (probably 4 or 5 years old; certainly no older than 6 or 7), and I knew an atomic blast of that magnitude was almost certainly not survivable if you lived in the city.

  43. david foster Says:

    On the long-cycle rise and fall of civilizations, an interesting source is great Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun (c 1400 AD). I haven’t yet finished his primary work, An Introduction to History, but it is quite interesting.

    Khaldun’s ideas appear to have been a primary influence on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s unfinished novel of ideas, Citadelle (published in English under the unfortunate title Wisdom of the Sands), which I highly recommend.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    IGotBupkis: Yahoo article commenters are not necessarily representative of the population. Neither are my friends and acquaintances—but going by the latter, I’d say very many people swallow the MSM info (and particularly NPR, among my set) whole.

  45. Don Carlos Says:

    It is all well and good to blame the media, the creepy-crawly Leftists, the Gramscians (and I do), but the hard-to-escape fact is that we let it happen.
    We (most of us) did not stand up when we needed to. We may be playing the Woe Is Me poor victim game, even today, when we should be manning the proverbial barricades.

    Neo might consider a post in which she asks each of her loyal readers to respond as to what they are doing about it. Are you engaged in the “street battles” or watching from the safety of an upstairs window?

  46. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: I think one of your difficulties is that you want every treatment of these subjects to be complete, and you assume if everything is not put in there every time, then it is missing because the writer either doesn’t know it, or doesn’t acknowledge it, or denies it.

    And it doesn’t matter how many times people say “yes, we know it,” and “yes, we acknowledge it” (about, for example, the influence of the Gramscian march of the left through our institutions and the effect it’s had on our culture and values). You feel you must dot every i and cross every t for the dummies who don’t seem to know what you know.

  47. Don Carlos Says:

    T: take it easy on Artfldgr. He is as frustrated as the rest of us. Rightly or wrongly, I have the sense that he lives/works in somewhat psychologically arduous circumstances, reads and thinks a great deal in his off-time, connects dots in ways that often amaze, and sometimes bubbles or boils over. But his mind and heart are in the right place.

  48. Mr. Frank Says:

    As some wise person has noted, our country can survive an Obama. What we can’t survive is a country full of idiots who voted for him.

  49. T Says:

    Don Carlos,

    No offense intended. I noted that Artfl is a long time and valued commenter. He is among friends here, not enemies. Sometimes, perhaps, that needs to be stated outright for any/all of us.

    I, myself, only commented frequently on two blogs (here and at the now defunct Don Surber blog). I truly enjoy the interchange of ideas and the honing and refining of arguments that occurs here without enmity. I look forward to having it continue in that same spirit.

  50. Eric Says:

    Re the American people’s commitment to our preferred worldview and to upholding our position on the world stage, several comments have stated that we turned the corner for the worse on Election Day 2008. I disagree. I pin the date earlier, sometime in 2004.

    Sometime in 2004, President Clinton made a 180-degree flip from his support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which Clinton had based on his own presidential experience with Iraq more than Bush’s 2002 arguments, to claiming he opposed the Iraq mission from the start.

    That was the turning point.

    OIF was THE pivotal engagement of global American leadership after 9/11, not OEF. The Afghanistan mission has been obligatory. Iraq, while an urgent problem that needed resolution in its own right, was an assertion of global American leadership of the kind proclaimed by Clinton in 1998, when he announced his bombing of Iraq: “In the century we’re leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community; fear and hope. Now, in a new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past — but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace. ”

    Bush followed Clinton’s lead and staked our status as the leader of the free world on resolving the Iraq problem in a manner upholding American principles. Given the stakes involved for America in Iraq, it’s incredible that the Democrats chose to act so recklessly. The actions of lesser Democrats pale in comparison, however, to the damage of President Clinton’s flip. Clinton, as demonstrated by his history with Iraq and pre-flip support of OIF, understood better than anyone, possibly including Bush, why we were in Iraq. As the President who dealt most extensively with the Iraq problem and best understood the mission’s ramifications and implications, Clinton had a special responsibility to stand with Bush on at least justifying the Iraq mission, moreso as a Democrat leader.

    The 2 Presidents united on Iraq – maybe – could have held the line against the Democrats’ sabotage and globally spread false narrative. But when President Clinton abandoned Bush, he left the American leadership staked in Iraq open to the relentless Democrats’ attacks from within.

    Bush couldn’t hold the line by himself. He needed Clinton to stand with him. But in 2004, President Clinton made the decision for the rest of America that we would no longer stand strong against the enemies of peace. Election Day 2008 just followed from that.

  51. Don Carlos Says:

    Basil:
    further to your Alinsky reference and my post that we did it to ourselves, in Rochester NY the black district rioted and self-incinerated in the late ’60s. Rochester then had the highest per-capita rate of millionaires of any city in the country, thanks to Xerox and Kodak. The town was awash in money and guilt.
    After the flaming riots, the Elites of local government, the big business leaders and the university crowd, Republicans all, invited (yes!) Alinsky in at a very fat fee to put a fix on things. Some years later Xerox left for CT, and Kodak has inexorably dwindled despite inventing digital photography. No social fix ever occurred, Mr. Alinsky notwithstanding. Lots of drama, though; and now, lots of Democrats.

  52. Eric Says:

    Add: In contrast to Clinton’s publicly turning against Bush, one notices Bush has not once (at least that I know of) spoken nor even implied ill of Obama’s foreign policy decisions, even Obama’s missteps in overt contravention of Bush’s foreign policy.

  53. Francesca Says:

    T @ 2:58:

    Thank you for your stirring post. I have always believed in the American optimism, courage, and hard work. That is I have always believed until lately when weariness has overcome me. As an educator, I have seen what the left-wing education is doing to our students. I don’t believe it is unfair to call a lot of what is going on in schools at all levels is not education, but propoganda. The MSM seemingly have no shame, and all I can do is not watch or read their garbage. Lately, I have been living with a sense of dread as to what is coming. Your post was a much needed jolt out of my exhaustion with all this. Thank you again.

  54. T Says:

    Francesca,

    You are most welcome. It is my privilege to be of service.

    It was borne of a true sense of optimism about this country. We are a disputational culture and sometimes dispute appears to be chaos.

    One additional story just for you (I may have mentioned it on this site before, if so, bear w/ me). (H/T Lester Thurow):

    Why did the world wait for Columbus to sail in the late 15th century? It wasn’t because people thought the world was flat. The world was known to be round by the educated since Erastothenes measured in in ~500 B.C. So why did no one sail before then? Sea Monsters. They were afraid they would get eaten.

    When Columbus sailed and, more surprisingly, returned, well, he was just lucky. By the time the tenth ship made the round trip people started to think that maybe there weren’t any sea monsters. By the time the hundredth ship sailed, they knew there were no sea monsters.

    The upshot of this is that the people on the first ten ships, who sailed when they thought they might get eaten become the colonial governors; the people who make the voyage on the hundredth ship, when it’s safe, become the colonists.

    We are the descendants of those early mariners; those sailors who took the chance of getting eaten in uncharted waters. My ancestors, probably yours too, came to this country on a hope and a prayer, many with only the clothes on their back. They could have “gotten eaten,” but they established a new life for themselves and us. We carry that intrepid sense of hope and that entrepreneurial spirit with us, literally, in our DNA. Those across the pond are the descendants of those not willing to take that chance.

    That is the core of American Exceptionalism. We are always willing to set sail in new and uncharted waters. That is why I’m absolutely convinced we will weather this storm. It took us 70 or 80 years to reach this point and we won’t resolve it overnight, but I’m convinced that, in time, we will resolve it.

    Take the long term view. Look for successes where you can find them and contribute to them where you can. As an educator you may well find opportunities to contribute that will bear remarkable fruit in the future of your students. And, perhaps most importantly, do not lose touch with that faith that carried our ancestors to a new and strange and distant world.

  55. Artfldgr Says:

    nah that’s not it neo..

    its 4 years on, Prague spring and potential world war looks realistic, and for the most part, those who were ahead then, still are, and those who weren’t, are still talking about it…

    read what you said and think in terms of preventing whats coming? will a Romney win do anything meaningful other than a delay (if he isn’t playing good cop bad cop).

    your musing its the schools, and i am saying yup. but your not going to fix them unless you fix what controls them, and you wont fix what controls it as its never the center of the conversation, and the conversation is never about how to neutralize that.

    is it?

    acknowledgement? yes yes we know?

    about as useful as magic beans… actually less so, since you CAN entertain kids with magic beans.

    you don’t have families you don’t have a cohesive culture, and the race or class that has that condition and does not fight back to alleviate it, ends up extinct. the universe doesn’t value one over the other if one of them is so superior it lets itself be manipulated to death.

    these guys have been going for over 150 years… wouldn’t you LOVE to see whats in the libraries of their core offices? did you ever imagine that there is such? how about all the records of the CPUSA? you know, the group that first withdrew its candidate due to lack of distinction, and the one that merged with the democratic party in 2008…

    pretty soon, most of what created modern society and took 2000 plus years to do, will be gone. the old people will be rationed away a bit faster to hasten that, but they is just old folks talking.

    how many years left do you have?

    i can tell you this, you probably have less of them now than you did when my conversations started here years ago, and precisely because the key things they needed were put in (while they let everything else go to crap).

    it wont be long before rules are added to the medical stuff that will not allow you to use your money to get better treatment. when that’s introduced, your and my life expectancy go down quite a bit.

    you think not discussing all the perks he is giving the feminists for their votes is not a good place to talk and perhaps cue people in on their votes being bought?

    Romney may have been in a better place if instead of discussing that focus, the focus was on the money being spent to create gliechshaltung, and get various groups to vote.

    from the play about immigration reform by fiat… to title IX being expanded.. which they are already affecting admissions and such.

    Demographics Favor Obama Over Romney in November Election
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/29/demographics-favor-obama-over-romney-in-november-election.html

    Millennials and minorities, who boosted Obama in 2008, are growing, while white working-class voters, Romney’s bread and butter, are declining.

    More single people, secular people, and people with college degrees are all part of what Teixeira calls a “warming trend” toward Democrats. White, working-class voters, the group most resistant to Obama, were 28 percent of the electorate in ’08, and they’re down another 3 percent this year.

    did they change sides? no.. their population is falling off a cliff as you and other baby boomers are starting to die out… and yes, its THAT fast..

    in Ohio, a battleground state, they are 54 percent of the electorate.

    now… what percentage of these people have taken their mandatory womens studies courses? in can tell you that every year we get a new crowd in at the school, and each year they do more and more feminist stuff and all the college is so far to the left the leaning tower of piza looks level.

    demographically speaking. so what if romney wins, no one will be alive to maintain an edge… the women of the future following the cultural ideas of feminism have self exterminated.

    The white working class is “plummeting” as a share of voters, said Teixeira, replaced by white college graduates and minorities. Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis lost white, working-class voters by 20 points and with them the 1988 election; Obama lost them by 18 points in 2008 but still won. “Even if Obama lost working-class whites by 23 points, he could still win the election because the country has changed so much,”

    I told you the end was written in demographics…

    the problem with the article is the wishful thinking and the assumption that this is politics as usual going forwards – so Hispanics will come around and vote republican over the long term.. (though i wonder why they voted for Chavez and others down south)

    http://www.humanevents.com/2011/10/18/ad-2041end-of-white-america/

    The Census Bureau has now fixed at 2041 the year when whites become a minority in a country where the Founding Fathers had restricted citizenship to “free white persons” of “good moral character.”

    you know. the people that invented freedom.
    fought for it. justified it. and all that. you know, the patriarchs. the ones that the new kids on the block hate as they read about how evil they were and how they beat their wives with a switch as thick as a thumb…

    I concur with the late Clare Boothe Luce.

    In this world, she said, there are optimists and pessimists.

    “The pessimists are better informed.”

    i agree…

  56. Artfldgr Says:

    an the test-score gap be closed? With the Hispanic illegitimacy rate at 51 percent and the black rate having risen to 71 percent, how can their children conceivably arrive at school ready to compete?

    Should this continue for three decades, what will it mean for America if Asians and whites occupy the knowledge-industry jobs, while scores of millions of black and Hispanic workers are relegated to low-paying service-sector jobs? Will that make for social tranquility?

    Affirmative action is one answer.

    But this is already causing a severe backlash, and the reason is obvious.

    When affirmative action was first imposed, whites outnumbered blacks nine to one. The burden of reverse discrimination on the white community was thus relatively light. Today, however, not only blacks, but Hispanics and women — two-thirds of the entire population — qualify for affirmative action in hiring and school admissions.

    And the burden falls almost entirely on white males, who are one-third of the country but three-fourths of the dead and wounded coming back from Afghanistan.

    and according to the census, the population has been in constant decline since just before 68…
    and if they are getting all the admissions, how is that one group going to pay for all those others?
    and will the young men care? what are they working for? family? respect? etc?

    Can Western civilization survive the passing of the European peoples whose ancestors created it and their replacement by Third World immigrants? Probably not, for the new arrivals seem uninterested in preserving the old culture they have found.

    Those who hold the white race responsible for the mortal sins of mankind — slavery, racism, imperialism, genocide — may welcome its departure from history. Those who believe that the civilization that came out of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome and London to be the crowning achievement of mankind will mourn its passing.

    so the world you want to keep…
    cant be kept because the women didnt have babies and pass that on to the kids.

    bye bye…

    how many kids you have?
    how many did your great grandmother have?
    why the difference?

    did you pass on your culture to your kids? i didn’t…
    my son has no idea of his history.
    he is a product of modern feminist relationships and legal jurisprudence.

    for generations such family histories have been destroyed by the system
    that swore to do so to make a communist government.

    so unless you got some idea to change THAT stuff…
    this patient isn’t ever getting off the table.

    in less than two elections the numbers will drop off as amazingly as they were seen to rise.
    and they did not replace themselves nor kept their culture, ideals, and so on.

    Obama Administration Broadens Gender Quotas in Higher Ed
    http://blog.heritage.org/2012/07/16/obama-administration-broadens-gender-quotas-in-higher-ed/

    While women are underrepresented in some academic areas, they are also overrepresented in others. And if the Administration’s new Title IX guidance were applied evenly, opportunities for women in other fields would be limited. But as education researcher Joanne Jacobs notes, “don’t hold your breath waiting for Title IX enforcers to crack down on college English departments.”

    so… after that 1/3 cant pay and declines fast…
    who will then be forced to take to that slack?
    and who will their tax money support (And who would they look to)?

    Could there be any worse way to ensure access to science education? Pulling down men to alleviate a nonexistent problem plaguing women is surely no way to improve academic opportunity for everyone.

    no… but combine that with control over loans, and other favoritism on the tax dollar. it sure gets you that high voter rate that dont care… they didnt care enough to save it when they could, why would they care enough now and decide to lose ‘school’ and all that to save it now?

    and if you cant answer that question… t’s and i’s are small compared…
    as this is the technological future
    and china is putting out as many engineers as we have in the country… EACH YEAR…

    they don’t have the underclass that will change a 9 to 1 ratio to almost parity..
    unlike Jews they don’t have world hate on them
    and unlike Americans, they don’t have feminism…
    (in fact… you would think they would have implemented it to control population. however, if they did that, what would WE learn about ourselves we don’t know from Russian history that THEY do)

    so how you going to stop that part of it too if you dont want to go to the root and change 100 problems to a few?

    most of this will be deleted anyway if too long…

  57. Francesca Says:

    T: Again I thank you. I have often told my students whether Americans or more recently, international students from many countries, just what you have related. Americans are descended from optimistic, courageous risk-takers. The fearful never made the journey. I do compare my international students to that mindset a bit as I point out that they were brave to leave their country, families, friends to come here to study English and pursue higher degrees. Most of them at present are Saudis, Libyans etc. One of the Libyans (I love Libyans.) came to me today to apologize from what has just happened there. I was quite touched and just reminded him that there were very bad people in every country. We certainly have them. Theirs murdered our ambassador. Very sad, terrible in fact, but not of his doing.

  58. parker Says:

    Perhaps I’m living in a different country and/or era. I do not see what many of you see, its not apart of my daily life. However, perhaps I am isolated and clueless about the ruination that others apparently witness on a daily basis. America I gather is doomed.

    So, I wonder if rickl may be correct, we need a civil war to purge the bad blood. And then, after the all acrimony, turmoil, death, and ashes have been soaked into the soil; we might be able agree to separate into like minded regions.

  59. Oldflyer Says:

    T you do make the case for hope; and I should say that despite my earlier pessimistic statements, there is a core of hope within me.

    I know that as Mitt told us there are about 47% who are more or less committed to government largess. (I wonder if I am in his 47% being retired Navy, and a SS recipient. I would love to kiss it off if I only could.) On the other hand there are so many who live strong, who love the country and who contribute in various ways. The issue is whether they can be rallied and united. Whether they can take charge.

    There has been a good deal of mention of the propaganda factories that pass as schools. I feel strongly that those influences can be offset by parental wisdom. The problem here is that so many parents are so distracted by other things (earning a living?). So, the answer is grand parent power. I never pass up the opportunity to propagandize to my 16 year old twins, through word, email and copies of articles that I want them to read. Does it help? Don’t know, and they are too loving to tell me to buzz off. But, I know it won’t work if I don’t try.

    Discussion of the nuclear age struck a chord. We were not terribly reflective, but I can recall a few discussions with my fellow carrier based “nuclear delivery” pilots back in the ’50s. (nuclear delivery–how do you like that euphemism?) The question was, could you really drop one? The basic answer was yes, because our country would not be first. Since our families were living near major Naval bases, we thought we knew what fate they would have suffered before the the order came for us to launch. No one ever expected to return from one of those missions; and didn’t think there would be anything we wanted to return to anyway.

    The recommendation for rallying vet power is a good one. It would be great if some of the Vet organizations would take up the challenge. Strangely enough, rallying Vets would be a natural role for G.W. Bush. He connects with them in a wonderful way. Maybe I will try to communicate the idea to him. Interesting that some Media types were recently questioning whether Vets should be active in politics. If Bush tried to organize them as a force, the Media and the Democrats would have a breakdown for sure.

    The country has been through some really testing times, so perhaps we should not write it off prematurely despite the formidable forces that are tugging downward.

  60. T Says:

    Francesca,

    No, Thank you for reaching lives and attitudes like that.

    Keep the faith and keep up the important work. You are undoubtedly influencing more lives than you know.

    The Libyan story is quite touching. Just when one feels justified to retreat into a stereotype, along comes one person to just blow that out of the water and remind us that of our universality as human beings.

    Oldflyer,

    “There has been a good deal of mention of the propaganda factories that pass as schools. I feel strongly that those influences can be offset by parental wisdom.”

    No question about that, I humbly note that my wife and I seem to have been reasonably successful doing precisely that.

    “I wonder if I am in his 47% being retired Navy, and a SS recipient.”

    I can’t speak fro Mitt but I’d say no resoundingly. Retired Navy is a pension no different than a corporate pension–you earned it (and thank you for your service from this non-vet). SS is a program you paid into, again a pension earned.

    “If Bush tried to organize them as a force, the Media and the Democrats would have a breakdown for sure.”

    You should pursue this idea if for no other reason than that!

  61. rickl Says:

    Artfldgr’s two-part 11:58 post is correct, unfortunately. Even if Romney wins this election, it will be a last gasp. The demographics are not on our side, and are getting worse every day.

  62. expat Says:

    I just returned from 5 weeks at home (I am rather sleep deprived so forgive me for not making a succint comment). Anyway, what I saw leaves me a bit uncertain about what will happen. I saw rich relatives whose kids are going to fancy private schools and are totally isolated from any kids not like them, and I saw poorer working-class relatives and friends who are having trouble bridging the status gap with their own kids. There are among the latter group those who can pass on lessons of hard work and self sufficiency, but many seem to want to give their kids everthing, necessary or not.

    Oldflyer’s comment about garandparents’ contributions to childrearing ties in beautifully to a conversation I had with an older black woman who sold me some things at JoAnn Fabrics. I said that they had such an assortment of sewing supplies and fabrics and asked her if many women still sew. She said the older ones do, but the younger ones aren’t even taught how to sew on a button. She also said the don’t know how to cook. It made me hope that maybe some grandmothers of all races could get together and stand up to the cool peer culture that pervades today (eg, decorators for college dorm rooms). And then I read about the Obama fundraiser with the trashy rapper. Shouldn’t all the grandmothers revolt at the idea of their granddaughters being called hos?

    Other relatives, who a few years ago were knee-jerk liberals for status reasons more than conviction, are now saying that something is seriously wrong with the way today’s kids are being raised. We seem to be labelling too many as losers (or clingers) while promising them that a college degree will guarantee them the good life. Credentials are all, and real-life skills are meaningless. I believe we need a grandmothers’ tea party movement to fight the feminist mythology that the goal of life should be breaking a mythical glass ceiling. Somehow, social conservatism has been defined as a flat earth, barefoot and pregnant view of the world. I prefer that it be considered a way of thinking that considers the unintended consequences of social changes rather than a litmus test based on one or two hot button issues.

    I am starting to fall asleep, but these are just some random thoughts from my 5-week trip back home.

  63. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: whether you are talking about the Gramscian march of leftism or about demographics, the principle is the same: it seems that you are assuming that if something is not mentioned by a writer or commenter, that person doesn’t know about it or actively rejects it, and that you need to harangue them for this.

    Why do you think that people here are unaware of (or would deny) the projections for the future demographics of the country and how those changing demographics would be likely to affect our politics and our values? After all, Democrats have been saying it for years: that Republicans’ and/or conservatives’ days are numbered because of changing demographics. This is not a secret. In fact, in my reading about polls, I came across the argument from pollsters that they need to use more Democrats in their models for the 2012 election than the 2008 one, not because people have changed party affiliation to Democrat, but because it reflects the change in demographics of the voting population towards more Democrats, even compared to 2008.

    I write about electing Romney because it’s facing us now; in a few short weeks we are going to have an election. I’ve not seen a single commenter here who thinks Romney can fix the over-arching problem, but the idea is that it’s possible to buy a bit of time by his election. One best case scenario about his election would be that, if the economy improves even somewhat, some people will notice (even some Democrats), and then there could be a ripple effect that turns them towards more conservative viewpoints.

    That doesn’t change people’s ethnicity, of course, but this isn’t about white or black or physical things like the color of one’s skin. It’s about beliefs and culture and points of view, and their interface with economics and politics.

    I refer to the educational system as key because that’s a place to at least try to intervene—for example, to try to wrest local control of school boards back towards the conservative point of view, and to encourage more conservatives to go into education.

    I also think the best way to start to limit the bad effects of affirmative action (reverse discrimination against white men, for example) is through the courts. But the only way I can see to do that is to elect conservatives who will appoint more conservative judges.

  64. Eric Says:

    Neo,

    What do you think about this?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/nyregion/specialized-high-school-admissions-test-is-racially-discriminatory-complaint-says.html

  65. SteveH Says:

    This thread feels like i’m reading America’s obituary. Which leads me to believe we’re not losing these battles because collectivist are powerful, but because lovers of freedom have become helpless and weak.

    We had grandfathers who shot people in the ass with buckshot for stealing peaches. Their grandfathers hung people for stealing their horses. Yet we freely hand over our tax dollars to common thieves and wonder what’s happening.

    Be under no illusion as to what once made America and Americans so exceptional. We were ruthless as hell when it came to those that wanted something for nothing.

  66. T Says:

    Although only tangential to this particular thread, the linked arrticle by Wm Gensert addresses the concern that many of us have commented on at this site.

    He starts with the 47% who didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 and then begins a series of “take-aways” from 2008 pro-Obama voters. While perhaps somewhat overstated, there is no denying the common-sense approach this article reveals.

    The link:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/its_over.html

  67. Rob Says:

    We can blame America’s “exhaustion” if you like, but it seems to me we should instead practice what we preach. We should stand up and take responsibility for our own shortcomings. Obama is winning this election because the GOP put forward an idiot and a boob as a candidate. Full stop. End of story.

    Our party did this. Now it’s up to us to make sure that our party does a better job in the future. You can be in denial about this if you like. You can manufacture all kinds of reasons to think that we don’t really need to do anything, we’re all the pawns of processes beyond our control, etc. Alternatively, you can stand up and make sure that people like McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, and everyone else in the Republican Party who fostered a Romney candidacy PAYS WITH THEIR OFFICE.

    It’s only when we start standing up in this way that things will get better. And we really, really need things to get better soon.

  68. Armchair pessimist Says:

    Our backs aren’t against the wall yet. And it’s human nature to dither until they are.

    While on vacation we made the inevitable pilgrimage to LL BEAN in Maine. I get tired of shopping very quickly, so to kill time I walked around the town’s back streets. There was a small village green with a big statue of a Union soldier. I stopped and looked at him and he in a distant way looked at me. “Rest in peace and thanks, but this time kindly butt out. “

  69. Mr. Frank Says:

    Reading this thread a couple of books from long ago came to mind — The Other America by Michael Harrington and Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. I even recalled Charles Kuralt’s America and John Edwards’ (gag) observations about two Americas.

    I am a long distance touring motorcyclist and I have toured all over the United States while carefully avoiding big cities. I talk to locals and I read local papers. Something like 80% of counties in the U.S. vote Republican in presidential elections. Of course, some of those counties have more cows than people.

    The problems addressed in this thread relate heavily to big city America. The America of small town Texas or the upper peninsula of Michigan is still tall and proud. They like the military and self reliance. They like children. The gap between big city coastal America and small town fly over America is huge. It may be as big as the Civil War gap between northern industrial city dwellers and southern planters and farmers.

    Unfortunately, the split is not static. When the lefties move from California to Colorado or Oregon, they take their culture with them. They are an occupying force. They reproduce the problems they left. The same thing is happening to Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. The snow birds foul the nest.

  70. T Says:

    Rob,

    Obama is NOT winning the election. Don’t drink the liberal Kool-Aid.

  71. T Says:

    Mr. Frank,

    You make an important point. All of us, here and in the broader sense, tend to let the national dialogue define the conversation. There is a huge difference, as you point out, between the reality on the ground and the national dialogue controlled, and massaged primarily by the I-95 corridor from D.C. to Boston.

    This has been one of the bases for my belief that A) Romney will win this election and B) Romney should take PA by 51%-52%. I live elbow to elbow with Dems in a union blue area and yet many (and I mean MANY) of those that I know will not be voting for Obama by their own admision.

    Part of reclaiming this country is reclaiming the electorate and beginning to undo 80 years of Progressive non-sense. As Neo, above, in her response to ArtflDgr notes. There is no magic wand. It will take time. While the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, there is no reason to avoid that step simply because it will not immediately take you to the end of that journey.

  72. M of Hollywood Says:

    America’s obituary
    the culpability of the generations
    whatareyoudoingabout it – (Do it, neo. Call us to share action)
    thanking artfldgr condeming artfldger
    quitting all else to have time to read artfldger
    soccer coaches that became roaches
    learning to endure a lazy hazy president but not knowing how to endure the hoards who voted for him
    shallow analysis coupled with deep analysis
    hope and blindness mixed with clarity and horror,
    horror at the loss of mind.
    head swimming with a mix of faith and despair

    thank you (again) neo and commenters – just for being here.
    will you still be here if the left prevails – and yes I hear the artflingresque sneer at the word “if”

  73. expat Says:

    I just read this via a Powerline link:

    http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?AID=2197

    It is an excellent discussion of Toqueville’s vision of America and freedom and the social bonds we need.

  74. T Says:

    From my post above yesterday @ 3:33:

    How does the U.S.S. Obama continue to float with its rotten timbers and the holes in its hull? Look beneath the surface, it’s being held afloat by a media underwater and holding its breath
    . . . But they can’t hold their breath forever, and their arms will get tired. The process has already begun..

    From Instapundit today:

    RAND SIMBERG: Has Obama Lost NBC?

    Posted at 12:28 pm by Glenn Reynolds

    and from Newsbusters today:


    Leno: ‘We Wasted Four Years Waiting For Obama To Do Something About The Economy’
    By: Noel Sheppard | September 28, 2012 | 11:03

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/#ixzz27mgECIxt

  75. uncleFred Says:

    First the projected demise of the white voter ignores what it means to be “hispanic”. Hispanic is NOT a race and the vast majority of hispanics are white. Further census data and other sources show that roughly 2/3rd of third generation Americans who have one or more hispanic parent or grandparent self identify solely as white, not white and hispanic. In 2040 whites will make up a larger percentage of the population than they do now, they just won’t all be european whites. Who is to say what their politics will be in 28 years?

    The union lock on education is coming apart. “Higher education” is over priced and under performs. Except for certain specialties (most of which are not dominated by leftist training camps) the ivory towers that harbor the leftist princes and princesses of education will be replaced by for profit on line education.

    The media as we know it is crumbling. This is the source of the stridency and blatant propaganda. It will either truly reform itself or collapse and be replaced by institutions with a very different structure. Either way now that they are fully in the open the current media is on a path to oblivion.

    We need to elect Romney. He is far from perfect but can slow the process. If we can get 60 votes in the Senate in 2014 he can make real reforms. If we can get 67 votes, constitutional amendments are possible, and there is always a constitutional convention.

    As grim as our economic situation appears, even it can be fixed. If we have the political will to dramatically reduce the involvement of government in energy production, within 20 years we can provide 100% of our own energy from domestic source and be the largest exporter of oil and natural gas. We will control the price of energy and generate enough wealth to stabilize the dollar and reduce our debt to responsible levels.

    There are serious societal issues that have been mentioned here, but America is far from played out. We need to make the system much harder to game, and throw a sizable bunch of politicians in jail and the country will come back.

  76. T Says:

    Uncle Fred,

    “Hispanic is NOT a race and the vast majority of hispanics are white.” Not only do I agree, but I’ll carry this idea further. The Dems immediately assume that any low-income Hispanics (of any race actually) are automatically liberal Dem supporters. In fact quite a few Hispanics at all economic levels are quite traditionally oriented and espouse values more like conservatives than liberals. I know this for a fact, most directly because my daughter’s significant other fits this description to a “T” and so do many of his family and friends. I believe that the Marc Rubios and the Ted Cruzes may well be an important part of the future of conservatism.

    “As grim as our economic situation appears, even it can be fixed.” Again, I absolutely agree.

  77. Don Carlos Says:

    Rob is quite wrong. The GOP did not thrust Romney upon us; that would be the voters in the primaries.
    The Inside-The-Beltway GOP is generally wretched. But, sad to say, voters put Tearful John Boehner into the Congress time after time, and a vote of GOP Reps made him Speaker; those Reps were also put there by voters. Duh.

    The RNC, RNCC, et al are run by staffers who want to keep their jobs. They do not want tough leaders telling them what they must do…kinda like the State Dept. So, magically, we see selected as “moderators” of the upcoming debates people who should not even be allowed into the debate room. These “professional” staffers go with the wind, never against it. The same staff most Congressional offices. From my past experiences on the Hill re HillaryCare, most of the staffers are appallingly poorly informed…and they advise their Congressman employer.

    We wish for rapid change, but that ain’t gonna happen. Sorry, Rob. Do something to effect change instead of grinding your teeth down because there is no revolution in sight (yet). I’m doing it in my District.

  78. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    While it might seem like I am already heading for the open bar at America’s wake, I do think it just might be possible—Dutch boy with finger in the dike, and a lot of luck—to hold off the Fall, and to perhaps buy enough time to reverse enough trends so that there will be no Fall, or if there is one—and I think some sort of a Fall likely—that it will be one that is not too cataclysmic.

    To that end, Romney is infinitely preferable to Marxist, crypto-Muslim Obama.

    However, if Romney is elected—and I am going to do everything I can do to help him get elected—he will have to make some very unpopular decisions to start to turn the Ship of State around, and to take a lot of goodies away from the Mob that Obama & Co. have primed for violence.

    Moreover, Obama & Co. and their various appointees and Czars will have set a whole bunch of laws, Executive Orders, Presidential Decision Memorandums, policy changes, regulations, and regulatory processes in motion, and Romney and Ryan and their appointees will have to identify each and every one of them, and in many cases search them out—I am certain that many land mines and time-bombs are very well hidden—and to eliminate them or to reverse course.

    There will also be the problem of Obama apparatchiks who will have “burrowed in,” changed status—with help from Obama & Co.–from easily fired “political appointees” into “Civil Servants,” who are extraordinarily and notoriously hard to fire, and who can be counted on to try to continue to push and prolong Obama’s policies and to block, water down, go slow on, or to eviscerate any policies favored by Romney.

    Unfortunately, so far, I have not seen Romney manifest the kind of steel, guts, and ruthlessness needed to run such a Presidency but, I hope he has it.

    Ultimately, however, as my post that started this new thread discussed, absent some tremendous Messianic gifts, which I don’t attribute to Romney–how do you change people’s views of the world, attitudes, expectations, and behaviors in the four or eight years of a Presidential term or two?

  79. Don Carlos Says:

    “Hispanic” is indeed not a race (it should go without saying), but the vast, vast majority of Latinos are not biologically descendants of white Europeans. Theirs is the DNA of the various browns conquered by the small numbers of white Spaniards and Portuguese. with a language and Church grafted upon them. There are, para exemplar, a very very few blonde, even blue-eyed, Mexicans whose families have been Mexican for hundreds of years; they are all members of the 1%, and have the browns as servants.

  80. Artfldgr Says:

    Neo,
    other than what we hashed out in the email flood, the only point not detailed was the legal ones. and if you look you will find supreme court judgments and such declaring it already a no no in several ways, but playing splitting hairs on a few. and they are playing them one at a time in each state making it take longer…

    so far i have watched it start in the 80s (never looked before so dont know), and play a back and forth game on admissions and other things.

    but given their desires to preserve certain ideological things, they wont make a – you know, its not fair under X Y and Z.. (and so they are trying to not offend the majorities coming up by being fair – at least that’s one take – many others – who knows?).

    i guess the standard on admissions would be 2003 Michigan law school case…

    Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), was a landmark case in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing for the majority in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in promoting class diversity. The court held that a race-conscious admissions process that may favor “underrepresented minority groups,” but that also took into account many other factors evaluated on an individual basis for every applicant, did not amount to a quota system that would have been unconstitutional under Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke.

    Justices Ginsburg and Breyer concurred in judgment, but stated that they did not subscribe to the Court’s belief that the affirmative measures in question would be unnecessary in 25 years.

    Prior to this case, the “compelling interest” required to justify affirmative action has been correcting the effects of historic discrimination. Put another way, affirmative action was intended to “benefit” blacks or other groups facing historic discrimination.

    ah, but the most interesting argument comes from the left turning twice..

    an affirmative action supporter criticized the ruling, arguing “Under the terms of the new affirmative action, then, the primary role of Blacks is not as benefactors of the policy, but as diversity servants, catering to the cultural experience of white students.” Put another way, the redefined affirmative action is intended to “benefit” white students by exposing them to diversity

    most of these though are at the state level… Proposition 209 Initiative 200 and according to wiki, which is good enough for now… the people of michigan ended up making a law that kind of makes the judgment moot.

    though the law that really is key on it i mentioned before, which gave certain classes of people special unequal status, so that treating them equally would be a violation…

    note that in both cases it was about women thinking they were cheated from a spot.

    due to lots of lawsuits, and the expense, there have been looks at the crazy policies at police and fire departments… but nothing as far as general work as they believe and are quite right that the current laws should suffice, but given that people make judgments a lot less of them are brought to case and win.

    jackson lewis though points out that for two decades (and more) the laws making it legal have been increasing… the disabilities act of 1990, civil rights act of 1991, family medical leave 1993, ada amendments act 2008, genetic informaiton nondiscriminations act 2008, lilly ledbetter fair pay act 2009.

    they say, many of them were created to get around the limiting interpretations of the supreme court.

    the secret here is that you cant find them under affirmative action, but under “protected classes”..

  81. Artfldgr Says:

    As Richard Pérez-Peña wrote recently in The New York Times, the nation’s colleges and universities are sure to make diversity a vital ingredient in building a student body. “But no matter how the court acts, recent history shows that when courts or new laws restrict affirmative action, colleges try to find other ways to increase minority admissions,” he wrote.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2012/04/03/11368/race-and-beyond-the-death-of-affirmative-action/

    so the article is about how they are going to continue and continue, etc..

    but they are not telling the kids prepping this…
    you see, the kids opinions they get are the ones on campus… not the ones who never made it to campus, and so wasted their prep years and working for grades and scores

    but its all kinds of ways… not one big one…

  82. T Says:

    Wolla Dalbo,

    “Unfortunately, so far, I have not seen Romney manifest the kind of steel, guts, and ruthlessness needed to run such a Presidency but, I hope he has it.”

    While this may be true, remember that Romney has proven himself a successful businessman. One does not reach the level he reached by pussyfooting and displacing difficult decisions. Whether he truly can do it remains to be seen, but for now, he’s running for election. It’s entirely probable that demonstrating the “sand” to make those tough decisions would serve no current purpose but to loose him the election.

    All in good time.

  83. M of Hollywood Says:

    an icy footnote to the Bakke case: in South LA in 2002 Chavez, who was admitted to U of M Law as the affirmative action student, was murdered as a bystander in a robbery of an ice cream store.

  84. Don Carlos Says:

    Wolla @ 7:45pm:

    If Romney is elected (Allah willing), it will just be the start of a long, very long campaign, that will need to span generations, with many mistakes, defeats and reversals that must be endured without quitting.
    The first step in retaking the Ship of State back from the pirates is to take and hold the helm.
    I know you know this. I just hadda say it!

  85. T Says:

    Just noticed, that’s “lose him the election.”

    Sorry.

  86. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    If it is possible to turn the Ship of State around, the one certainty is that we really “can’t go home again,” and that whatever the results and character of that radical course change are, they will not be the United States of the past—which grew organically out of a particular historical past and its circumstances, ideas, and conditions—but will be a changed America, one that grows out of contemporary circumstances, and “the shape of things to come” remains to be seen.

    Thus, much that was good in our past is lost forever (the opening words of the prologue to the film version of The Lord of the Rings, spoken by Galadrial, come to mind here—“The world is changed, I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air…”), and will not return, except perhaps as an echo—however faint, or will be changed almost beyond recognition, and new things as well will be birthed.

    I mourn for what we used to be, for all the many good things that we have lost and discarded and forgotten along the way, but such mourning is not productive of a new Renaissance, some form of new “Great Awakening,” so it should be put away and, we should try to find new ways to defend, embody, and to live out our founding principles, we should look to the future.

  87. carl in atlanta Says:

    For a vignette that powerfully illustrates but one example of the Fall, see Bill Whittle’s clip via Ed Driscoll at Instapundut here:

    A GREAT FUTURE BEHIND US

    I have often thought that 2,000 years from now, historians — if there are any — will teach that America’s apex as a civilization reached its apex at 20:17 UTC on July 20, 1969.

  88. T Says:

    Wolla Dalbo,

    I do think that you are precisely correct. I add that Walter Russell Mead has been writing about this same thing in his essays regarding the attrition of the “blue social model.” His claim is that both liberals and conservatives essentially pose past remedies for developing future problems.

    As you imply, we can’t go “home” again, but as the saying goes we must return home and see it for the first time;” an exceedingly difficult thing to do.

  89. M of Hollywood Says:

    wolla ~ your last two comments are touchingly liberating.
    how we might bring the cornerstones of the foundation to the shifted sands of today.

  90. Don Carlos Says:

    It kinda troubles me, Wolla, to see references to 20th century fiction writers as the touchstones of wisdom, as opposed to other and possibly more enduring sources.

  91. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Don Carlos–

    Truth is truth, no matter what its source–high or low.

    Galadriel speaks for me in the things she senses and says here, and I calls them as I sees them.

    And, while we are at it, in view of the great job our “educational system” has done and is doing in editing, truncating, “transforming,” ignoring, obliterating, “reframing,” re-imagining, reinterpreting, and twisting our History and Heritage, some others of the words in Galadriel’s prologue might also be apropos:–

    “…But the hearts of men are easily corrupted… And some things that should not have been forgotten, were lost…History became legend, legend became myth…”

    As the characters and the histories of our Founders, the deeply religious climate of those Revolutionary times, their philosophy, their conception of man and his relationship to God, and the heady ideas about power, the nature of government, and the state swirling around in the time of our Foundation that they felt so compelling and acted on, our real history and heritage, have largely been “forgotten” and effectively “lost” for far too many of us. “Legends” become insubstantial and distant, now become so many “myths” of a distant, almost unimaginable past; histories, and legends, and myths refuted -when discussed at all–every day in our K-12 and University classrooms, assignments, lectures, and textbooks.

    RE: Our current national character, independence, self-reliance, morality, honesty, hard work, thrift, delayed gratification, planning, actions and consequences, foresight, and the long view, and the trends and debate concerning “Takers” vs “Makers”.

    If you want sources of a higher pedigree, I will say that there are plenty of quotes by various of our usually highly educated and experienced Founders, in which they very clearly state that the Republic they created–and deliberately founded on Christian religion, faith, and morality–could not flourish or, ultimately, survive, if that Christian moral structure–that infused, informed, and gave direction to their times, and to our citizenry, then and for many generations thereafter–were to eventually dissipate and disappear, as it has been and continues to do today.

    Our Republic was not designed to, and simply cannot function without a citizenry that is truly educated and aware, conscientious, holds to and operates on the basis of and out of a fairly strict, Judeo-Christian, Bible-based, Ten Commandments moral code, and I challenge you to say that that by this standard we are in the same situation as in the first two centuries after our Founding, and that this belief in and fairly strict adherence to Christian belief and morality is the general situation with most of our citizenry today.

  92. Rob Says:

    Don Carlos,

    Many voters would vote for Bozo the clown if the most prominent voices in the party came out in his favor. That’s not because the voters are stupid, but because we have a two party system and most voters will go with the party candidate before they’ll “throw their vote away” on a complete unknown. But whatever. We’ve proven many times over that we lack the belly to reform our own party. It’s old news and I know I’m spitting into the wind.

  93. thomass Says:

    Sure. I’ve worried about how ‘unserious’ we’ve become. Used to abundance and thinking we can just give everyone heathcare (snap snap)… also feel guilty of it (Iraq was a mess)… that said,,,, the left was ready for an implosion. Romney just did the usual non conservative republican thing and didn’t go to town with a bat while they were down. Things are no worse now than the 70s. A lot of people just don’t follow the press; they don’t actually believe what it says. The space is wide open. Druge ought to start some newspapers. People are tired of tired leftists. They’re ready for someone to get the government out of their way so this country can build things and do things again…

  94. T Says:

    . . . I challenge you to say that that by this standard we are in the same situation as in the first two centuries after our Founding, and that this belief in and fairly strict adherence to Christian belief and morality is the general situation with most of our citizenry today.

    I accept that challenge.

    Perhaps you are correct, and yet perhaps we persist in judging the depth of the citizenry by the surface of a national dialogue controlled and massaged by a corrupt media.

    Dont forget Chik-Fil-A day amd Empty Chair Day and especially the Tea Party which was born of a little heard (in the popular sense—how many people tune in to CNBC?) rant from Rick Santelli, and most importantly, the effects of the Tea Party in replacing establishment candidates (and these are only a few examples).

    Wolla Dalbo, don’t forget my friend, that “Even the very wise can not see all ends.”

    Frodo:”I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

    Do not despair. human nature has not changed in 40,000 years. We act no differently than our ancestors did at the time of our founding fathers (and mothers). The envelope has changed, but where human activity is concerned, nihil sub sole novum (there is nothing new under the sun).

    In my mind, this is actually cause for hope because life is dynamic and we live in a unique culture which is verbally disputational and therefore dynamic in and of itself. We do not live in accord with principals handed down by one claiming the divine right to rule, the present occupant of the oval office notwithstanding.

    The envelope does change and we have, in this country, the unique situation of allowing that change without literally storming a bastille; we do it metaphorically, on election day, and we get to achieve similar revolutioninary results.

    Keep the faith my friends!

  95. Don Carlos Says:

    Wolla: you’re ‘talking’ to us here. and almost all of us have read Wolfe and Tolkien….the Great Hypoeducated out there have assuredly not. That is what I meant to obliquely address.

    Galadriel is fictional. Fiction=myth, IMHO.

  96. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Don Carlos—Perhaps it is my advancing age, but I am not quite getting what you are trying to get across.

    On the subject of “myth, “ symbol, and image, they embody and express deeper truths/things that mere common language cannot often express anywhere near so well, or with so much resonance, effect, and power. What, after all, is “Art.”

  97. david foster Says:

    Earlier in this thread I mentioned the writing of Ibn Khaldun, the medieval Muslim historian, on the rise and fall of civilizations. I’ve excerpted some of his thoughts on taxes and other aspects of economic policy here:

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/32597.html

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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