Wednesday, August 2, 2017

On Knowing What You Are

     Quite some time ago, back at the late, lamented Eternity Road, I wrote a piece about the difference between what you are and who you are, and the importance of distinguishing accurately between the two. What you are is your nature; who you are is your individuality. The former is not truly malleable, while the latter is almost entirely a matter of free choice.

     Quite a bit of contemporary Sturm und Drang arises from the desire of some among us – unfortunately, a rather strident some – to invert those two categories. They want to believe that they can reshape their natures, and to compel the rest of us to agree that they’ve done so. Conversely, they treat much of their individuation as immutable – often using bits of it as a claim upon others.

     It occurred to me just a few minutes ago that a political party has the same dichotomy to deal with. Baldilocks’ recent article about the Democrats drew it into high relief:

     The Democrat Party’s latest strategy sits poorly with some of its loyal backers.
     The Democratic party is facing a revolt from the left after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman said the party would back pro-life candidates in 2018.

     The DCCC chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, told The Hill that there will not be “a litmus test” for candidates on the subject of abortion. Lujan’s comments come as Democrats attempt to rebuild a broken party that has hemorrhaged elected offices on both the state and national level....

     Saying that the Democrat Party had taken the lead on abortion advocacy is a Captain Obvious assertion, but individual Democrats are far less homogenous in their opinions and beliefs about abortion. And now, after a long record of losing elections, with the 2016 election being the straw, the Party wants to win again.

     And such is the nature of politicians and political parties regardless of affiliation: say what you need to say — even repudiate your most revered sacrament – then, when you win, drop the mask.

     Juliette’s cynicism about politicians is a good match for my own. But more to my current point, what we’re seeing here is a test not for individuals but for the Democrat Party. It consists of a single issue – abortion – and whether the Party will enforce consistency about that issue upon its elected officials. For what Juliette has said above is quite correct: to the political creature, what matters is gaining and holding power; what he says or does to do so is merely a matter of choosing the most effective tactics.

     Everything we’ve seen from elected Democrats since Roe v. Wade suggests that trusting a Democrat to be sincerely pro-life is an act of utter naivety. But then, we’ve had a slew of indications that Republican politicians are no more reliable in their campaign promises, haven’t we?

     It’s becoming ever more imperative that Americans who continue to believe in the nation’s political arrangements reflect, objectively and dispassionately, on how well those arrangements have served us – and on how well they’ve served the true agendas of those in power.

     Kurt Schlichter has recently penned two columns:

  1. The Military Coup Against Donald Trump of 2018, Part I
  2. The Military Coup Against Donald Trump of 2018, Part II

     ...which describe how the sort of coup against the Trump Administration some on the Left have been calling for might really eventuate. The outcome is anything but rosy: it entails the destruction of what remains of Constitutional protections for freedom of expression. Yet as Schlichter makes plain, that’s exactly what the plotters intended; they merely wanted to be the ones to decree what may and must not be said.

     At this time, the Left is striving by various methods to extinguish the expression of what we might call traditional American sentiments. As the Democrats don’t hold the preponderance of political power, it’s an effort that’s almost entirely in the hands of private forces. Of these, the “Antifa / Black Bloc” thugs are the most notorious. But we must not overlook other players, nominally apart from political maneuverings, who have taken a hand in the proceedings. The machinations of Leftists at Facebook and Twitter are already well known. Just today another such player has shown its cards:

     YouTube is, of course, a wholly owned subsidiary of Google. Just recently, YouTube / Google struck the accounts of wildly popular conservative / traditionalist lecturer Jordan B. Peterson, even to the extent of removing his access to his Gmail account. Massive protests forced Professor Peterson’s accounts to be restored...but had he been less popular and less widely admired for his forthright defenses of traditional arrangements, would the outcome have been different?

     Apparently, corporations of immense importance to contemporary self-expression have been deciding that what they are isn’t profit-seeking institutions after all, but rather organs of the Left. They’ve enlisted in the Left’s drive to construct a totalitarian State in which only the sentiments the “social justice warriors” approve shall be expressed. If they are certain enough to act thus, isn’t it a decision the rest of us should acknowledge – and act upon?

     As above, so below, say the mystics, and indeed it is so. All things that God has not “fixed in the everlasting congruity of things” (Sir Thomas Carlyle) ultimately reduce to individual decisions and the actions that proceed from them. And so we see, beneath all the newsworthy developments, the phenomenon of individuals deciding that their political allegiances are more important than lifelong friendships with those who hold other views.

     We don’t talk about this much, possibly because it’s so very sad. After all, the point of a Constitutional system such as ours is to make it possible to relegate matters of public policy to a “safe space” of their own: one in which disagreement on such matters can be tolerated. Plainly, a substantial number of persons within our borders – I refuse to call such persons “citizens,” or more offensive yet, “Americans” – have decided that the Constitutional order doesn’t suit them, specifically because power has escaped their hands. The election of Donald Trump has proved more than their never-terribly-well-concealed totalitarian impulses can take.

     A military coup of the sort Kurt Schlichter describes is currently unlikely; the correlation of forces is too plainly against the Left. But the operative word in that sentence is currently. Remember the Obama Administration’s efforts to purge the command ranks of the “politically unreliable.” Dozens of generals and admirals were removed from their posts for no other reason. The Obamunists’ enforcement of absurd “diversity initiatives” – essentially, rights to serve in the military that supersede what had previously been considered disqualifying characteristics – was another stroke to that effect, though apparently of less impact.

     Nothing is absolutely reliable except the laws of Nature...and we mustn’t be too confident that we know them to the last button, either.

     Know what and who you are. Don’t confuse the two. In particular, know your dealbreakers, especially as they determine with whom you’re willing to have converse, personal, commercial, or otherwise. Sauce for the goose and all that.


John C. said...

A few months ago Verizon apparently sold out their email to AOL. Since then my start page has been an AOL page and I am banged with one form or another ofanti Trump propaganda. But, not to worry, all I need do is click on e-mail and the screen goes to another start page, this one specifically for e-mail which has four quarter page panels three of which are devoted to anti Trump "news" and one which is an ad (got's to make money).

We are all well aware that almost the entire media and entertainment industries are overwhelmingly leftist but now since the search engines are wholly owned by leftists they are finally showing their true fascist colors.

The insidious left is using freedom to destroy capitalism at the same time they are using capitalism to destroy freedom. I think this may be an historic first!

furball said...

Fran, that link to Part I of Schlicter's story results in a "not found" error. Even if you go to Part II then use *it's* link back to Part I you get the error. I realize this is a Townhall issue, but thought you'd want to know.

Tim Turner

Jack Imel said...

It seems to work okay from this end... a good story, too...
perhaps a result of some of that invisible divine intervention...

Jack Imel said...

The "artwork" on Google's lead-in page pretty much has always shown where they stand on the entirety of the cultural transformation that has been going on for many moons. It's discouraging but revealing. Same with many others as well.