Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cordevilla and Frum and Lions, Tigers and Bears - Oh, my!

I readily admit Cordevilla's article was a substantial, and driving, force of the post. There are other portions of my post from my own thoughts as well as from other sources. As I stated, the concepts were not original to me alone. I enjoyed and approved of many aspects of his presentation and could not - so I thought - improve upon them. That said, it would seem some principles that *I* thought were clear are not. I'm aware of Frum's commentary. I think Frum and some others - including Cordevilla - have missed some key points.

1. To use the terms like 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate' to describe the division in American politics is inappropriate and a needless demagogue approach. In my view, the difference is more between those who look to government for their continued existence / survival on one side, and those who prefer self-reliance on the other.

2. The division is not defined by wealth OR education. Its defined by the source of their self-image. The rich think “I'm better than you because I have more money.” The intellectuals think “I'm better than you because I'm smarter.” Both are wrong. Both want to be in charge of things. The 'smarties' have been running things for quite awhile and have gotten out of control. The 'dumb-masses' want their turn. Joy.

3. Regardless of how you slice it, the purpose of our government - as currently focused - is only concerned with How To Spend All This Money. The Tea Party rose from the depths of debt because of this very point. They are discovering that the core principles behind the rampant, unchecked spending of the Elite Ruling Class trickles over into other areas - predominately the social reform arena. And they don't like what's going on there either. The budget items Cordevilla mentioned for funding cuts were the EASY ones, not the hard ones - Defense budgets, Entitlements, etc. - that's where the Real (Hard) Work will be.

4. It's not about Dem vs Rep. It's about the motivations, attitudes and the philosophical driving forces of those currently wielding political power, regardless of their party affiliation. I thought that was clear. Clinton made mistakes. Bush made mistakes. Obama makes mistakes. Recovery from them is a bitch. And we're all getting tired of fighting against avoidable, even if unintended, consequences of their policies.

5. To define the philosophical battle in racial terms is wrong. Yes, Cordevilla does this in a very sneaky way, and if that was his intent, he's wrong to do so. There are numerous cultural reasons which attract followers to join the ranks of those who rely government largess. Those attracted are not required to be of a particular race. They are typically, but not always, from the ranks of the 'less educated', but that's not a requirement either. I'd rather set aside the racial assumptions and look at the philosophical attitudes which lead to these divisions. Discrimination under the law - or manipulating the law to discriminate - are equally wrong, regardless of who benefits.

6. Frum is absolutely correct in saying Cordevilla's book is about 'feeling'. Of course it is. We are culture that worships “how you feel” above all else. [ Just yesterday, during Pres. Obama's press conference about the voting results and Republicans taking power, he was asked (seriously) how the results “made him feel” - not what he *thought*... what he FELT. Sheesh! ] What Cordevilla does say (or at least imply) is that the required CHANGES will be difficult. The question - for the Tea Party - is, “Are you Willing To Do Whatever It Takes?” I don't know.

7. Where Frum goes wrong in his critique is demanding a Full Solution from Cordevilla before acknowledging his points may actually have some substance to consider. Frum is falling back on the Intellectual argument that “if you don't have all the answers - and present them in a form *I* find acceptable - you aren't smart enough to talk about the problems, so what you have to say isn't worth listening to.” He's wrong. I don't have to have The Answer before pointing out The Problem - I don't need to find the best deal on carpet cleaners before mentioning the elephant in the room.

8. Conspiracy Theory - If a large number of like-minded people follow the same philosophical principles which lead to a particular set of actions, does mean there is a “Conspiracy”? No. Lenin rallied the Russian people to his cause: that doesn't make following Communism a “conspiracy”. Lenin *did* conspire with his leadership cadre to do specific things - e.g., control the media and the information stream - to achieve and maintain specific goals for consolidating political power. Calling something a “conspiracy” doesn't make it Right or Wrong. What word we choose as a Label does not control Reality. There are groups who promote a particular agenda - whether as part of a structured plan by a Secret Society or not.

9. Social reforms - Government is not supposed to try and manipulate society: it is and should operate in support of society, not as its controller. THAT is the problem with both sides of the political spectrum: they are so concerned with trying to implement this or that “much needed social reform” *OR* trying to 'remove' or disrupt previously implemented social policies, that they are overlooking the Main Point - Government should NOT meddle in such things! The Rule Of Law - treat everyone equally - is as far as government can/should go. Abortion? Un-wed mothers? Same-sex marriage? The government should be spectacularly UN-helpful in these matters. This is *my* problem with the Elite / Intellectual approach which can be summed up as *I* (the Elite) know what is best and therefore *you* must be controlled.

10. Intellectual superiority - you and I agree 100% about how some (not all) experts) demand deference. Where we differ, is that while that attitude WAS NOT the norm, it is fast becoming that way. It is not the fault of those who genuinely pursue knowledge for its own sake. BUT, you must admit that the organizational culture that exists within the university system, corporate R&D elements, and - yes - government departments has become increasingly bureaucratic with the goal of supporting itself, not promoting individual achievement for the “greater good of all”. THAT is where the problem with academia lies. Whether by choice, some Grand 'Conspiracy', or just the nature of the beast, those in positions of power, influence, and control of intellectual pursuits are of a like mind (“We're better than you”), and they are, individually and as groups, deliberately pursuing agendas to further THAT goal. And if you don't line up with The Consensus, you are less than Nothing, you must be shunned and discarded as 'unworthy'. As an Example: review the protests of AGW-proponents concerning who is or is not 'qualified' to have an opinion on climate studies.

11. Control of education - Even if Cordevilla recommends discarding 'professional educators' in favor of local involvement, he's correct in the respect that the Body Politic *must* become more involved on a LOCAL LEVEL than has been seen in recent years. We cannot turn over the education of our youth to a third party and expect others to impose *our* belief system on their students. What is required - and what Cordevilla missed - is that better OVERSIGHT of educators is desperately needed. That means increased accountability on the part of parents AND educators. The parents can't be 'fired' - and let's not argue about what DFACS can/cannot do, please - but there are some teachers that need to be fired. It has been shown that 50% of the failing students can be traced back to the 10% worst teachers - why is it so hard to fire the worst and improve the education of all? Because the purpose of the education SYSTEM has nothing to do with educating children - its a government jobs program. We can get into an entirely different discussion about the purpose of Government education (and I'll bring up Lenin again, then, too).

12. Religion and Government - I do not want a Government-mandated religion. Period. In any area (that includes the 'religion' of climate change). Allowing public displays of religious faith are harmless. There are way too many would seem to believe that *all* religious references must be prohibited from the public arena. That secular agenda is just as wrong as the formal status between Parliament and the Church of England in the 18th century. This country was founded, in part, from a desire to separate the State from the Church. It was NEVER intended to separate Man from God. The Rule of Law - equal treatment - takes care of government's role. Financing public displays of faith should be supported privately by those who desire such. Faith is an ultimately PERSONAL matter and should be treated as such.


Really kicked over an anthill, didn't I? ;-)

- Steve

1 comment:

  1. Well I must say I'm relieved. When your posts first came up I thought I saw lots of things in them that I know you would endorse, but lots of "unSteve" like things also. This got me to checking a few of these points out, whereupon I stumbled onto the Codevilla piece. I honestly didn't know of its existence until then.

    This latest post sounds reassuringly like YOU. I would never fault you for finding valuable nuggets of wisdom in something Codevilla would write, but I thought you yourself would have done much better. Now you have. Nice post.

    And by the way, don't even think of asking Rush Limbaugh to pen an introduction to your first book. I'm afraid you're a little too rational (not always mind you, but usually) for HIS tastes.