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07/22/2016

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I would love to say something about this concerning Rerum Novarum, but I have to work.

AMDG

I should read that again. I've developed a bit of an impatient reaction to it because I've heard it so often used as a prescription for fixing our problems as if we still lived in the kind of society it assumes. Not that the principles aren't valid, but that even figuring out how you would apply them to our conditions is not easy.

You should read Tony Esolen's book about it. That impression that you are talking about is false. Even the title--New Things--isn't an endorsement of new things, it's a repudiation of many of them.

AMDG

You mean my impression that it would not be easy to figure out how to apply it to our conditions? I have read RN itself btw, though it's been quite a long time.

No, the impression you get from people who slant RN in a liberal direction.

AMDG

Sorry not to be clear. Work just gets in my way.

aMDG

I think what I'm trying to say is that your negative reaction has everything to do with what people say about rather than what's really there.

AMDG

I know how that goes. Such a bother.

I wasn't referring to people who slant it in a liberal direction, or not particularly liberal. I'm thinking of the fairly traditionalist Catholics who preach distributism. I'm pretty much in agreement with their principles, but so often they take an almost fundamentalist approach to RN, sounding like we just need a government that will order its immediate implementation. Then sometimes taking the next step and saying but of course that's impossible so we don't need to care about actual politics. Ok, but rather ivory-tower-ish.

Cross-posted. Oh yeah, it's definitely what people say about it, not what's actually there, that I'm talking about. That's why I said I should re-read the document itself, to clear away some of that.

Misplaced and overstated. Trade and industrial unions encompassed about 28% of the workforce at their peak in 1955. Their decay is largely attributable to the country's changing industrial mix, in particular the replacement of manufacturing with service employment. If my own experience as a SEIU member is representative, union representation simply does not provide enough value-added in private sector service employment to justify the dues and the transactions costs. Unions for service workers have thrived in the public sector, wherein there are barriers to entry for employees and where budget constraints are less unyielding.

As for his conception of what Republicans trade in, a reconstruction of the social architecture and cultural norms of 1955 is a project for the ages. Right now, most would be satisfied to be left in peace by the abusive collection of cadres and propagandists who make use of the Democratic Party as their electoral vehicle. They're not experiencing the harassment of the judiciary or the public interest bar or the school apparat as 'liberating'.

There is one industry where economic dynamism did damage (if not destroy) unions: airlines. The thing is, airlines were for 40 years a federally-supervised cartel, which even heavy-industry oligopolies like the auto makers were not. Just treating the airline business like any other ruined the bargaining positions of unions.

I should note also that growth in per capita income was more rapid during the period running from 1970 to 1991 (2.06% per annum) than it has been since (1.58% per annum during the period running from 1991 to 2009). The 1970s were notable for bad monetary policy and misbegotten exercises in wage and price control, not for slow growth.

"Conservative attempts to restore social consensus and liberal attempts to restore a managed economy are both bound to fail due to the liberating effects of these twin revolutions."

This is not unlike what C. Lasch was saying back in the 90s. Economic "liberty" subverts traditional social consensus, while cultural liberation subverts economic solidarity. Both sides embrace things that are in the long run self-defeating.

Neo-liberalism tries to get around this by combining fiscal conservatism with social progressivism, basically leaving both traditional social consensus and economic solidarity to the vicissitudes of the market.

This is not unlike what C. Lasch was saying back in the 90s. Economic "liberty" subverts traditional social consensus, while cultural liberation subverts economic solidarity. Both sides embrace things that are in the long run self-defeating.

Lasch was a historian who seldom elaborated on social processes on the occasions when he talked like this. What's your alternative to 'economic liberty'? A restoration of serfdom? Cartels of merchants and artisans?

Neo-liberalism tries to get around this by combining fiscal conservatism with social progressivism, basically leaving both traditional social consensus and economic solidarity to the vicissitudes of the market.

Hardly any of tthese people exist outside your imagination. 'Fiscal conservatism' is not a coherent concept and libertarians of the Reason Foundation / Koch Industries type number in the single digits in Congress if that.

I've never been quite sure what "neo-liberalism" is, as an idea. I see the word thrown around a lot. But in any case I think the basic Lasch-Levin view is so obviously true as not to require much argument.

If "fiscal conservatism" in this context means not "being careful with public money" but "making sure commercial interests stay happy", then there's an old lady running for president whom the neo-liberal label might fit.

I think the basic Lasch-Levin view is so obviously true as not to require much argument.

It is? I think you're confusing the social implications of technological innovation and adaptation with the social effects of free exchange. And, of course, it's difficult to offer more than a speculative thesis of the effects of a discrete innovation on culture.

As for 'fracturing', I'm seeing several things:


1. A word-merchant element and a professional-managerial element who despise vernacular culture and especially inherited vernacular culture.

2. A renegotiation of the dialogue between the black population and the larger society and the self-understanding of the black population and the larger society. Among blacks, anxiety persists, but the response is different. At one time, you had a response I've seen called 'Tuskeegee ethic'. Now you have a response of rejection. Thomas Sowell has written about aspects of this, including the spread of Southern black accents to northern populations where it was atypical in 1950 and the persistence and resurgence of 'cracker-type' speech patterns among blacks (though unless I misunderstood him, Sowell believes they will eventually wither away). Another manifestation was the practice of giving your children ersatz Africanisant names like 'D'Shawn', which began around 1966).

3. Mass immigration after 1965 in the context of both of these phenomena, and the use of immigrants against elements of the extant population in political struggles.

4. The mental crack-up of oldline protestant bodies. See Thomas Reeves on his resistance and his wife's to evangelical protestantism. The idiom is just all wrong to people with a certain sensibility or background. What that's done is drive a wedge between much of the bourgeoisie and the Christian faith. You're left with Reeves dilemma. The Missouri and Wisconsin Synod Lutherans are still recognizably Christian, as is one Presbyterian body. Continuing Anglican bodies are tiny and embarrassingly refractory.


5. The crack-up of the Catholic Church has exacerbated the problem in point 4. The purveyors of suburban Catholicism are the sort of people who like greeting cards.

6. The relentless colonization of American life by the legal profession. NB, a large fraction of the legal profession is Jewish - i.e. people who have always been alienated from aspects of vernacular culture manifest in such things as public prayer (and secular Jews commonly despise Orthodox Jews as well).


I'm not seeing how technology (much less free exchange) drives this bar in one realm: the traffick in pornography.

You might add the evolution of the schools and the purveyors of media and how these people view the world around them. I'm still not seeing how economic or technological practice is transmuted into culture, as opposed to being an instrument of one sector's hostility to another sector.

"Hardly any of these people exist outside your imagination. 'Fiscal conservatism' is not a coherent concept..."

Awhile back you used to regularly hear so-called "moderate" Republicans, and sometimes Democrats, both politicians and pundits, say "Well, I'm fiscally conservative but socially liberal." My own former senator Arlen Specter was one of them. Nowadays you don't hear that much anymore, because it's become somewhat the default mode.

(Then again, maybe they just existed in their own imaginations. Or something.)

"I think you're confusing the social implications of technological innovation and adaptation with the social effects of free exchange."

Not unless you believe they're hermetically sealed off from each other somehow.

I don't care what incantations Arlen Specter offered in his press releases. It's still not a coherent concept.

When someone tells you they're a 'small government conservative', they're signaling an attitude, not referring to a well-articulated profile of the public sector. Same deal.

Not unless you believe they're hermetically sealed off from each other somehow.

The clip of innovation is enhanced by free exchange. The agent is till going to be technological, not the social relation incorporated in free exchange. Free exchange would be disruptive if the ancien regime incorporated unfree exchange (as was the mode when serfdom remained an institution).

I'm seeing a whole lot of trees there, Art, but it still looks like the same forest.

"I'm still not seeing how economic or technological practice is transmuted into culture..."

Really?!? "Transmuted" is not the word I would use, but that they have significant affect culture seems obvious.

I don't know that anyone ever regarded the profession of "fiscal conservatism" by the likes of Arlen Specter as much more than political posturing. At best it seemed to mean relatively moderate in terms of advocating huge new expenditures. I remember reading (in National Review I think) investigations of the actual voting patterns of congresspeople who described themselves that way and they were not significantly different from across-the-board liberals. They were basically liberals trying to get Republican votes.

A possibly more accurate term for the government-corporate romance that seems to be in practice the program of both parties now is "fascist." However there are a few problems associated with the attempt to use it in this relatively neutral tone....

That seems like a very interesting article, Maclin. I hope to spend some time reading it.

It's not especially long--2000 words at most, I think.

"The clip of innovation is enhanced by free exchange. The agent is till going to be technological, not the social relation incorporated in free exchange. Free exchange would be disruptive if the ancien regime incorporated unfree exchange (as was the mode when serfdom remained an institution)."

Iow, like I said, it can't be reduced to a binary. Glad you've come around.

~~~I don't know that anyone ever regarded the profession of "fiscal conservatism" by the likes of Arlen Specter as much more than political posturing.~~~

Right. Calling oneself a "pro-business liberal" doesn't result in many votes.

Anyways, my point was that you don't hear many people describing themselves as "fiscally conservative but socially liberal" anymore not because they've gone away, but on the contrary, because that description has become the default position for the great majority of the elites. Thus you no longer have to say it -- it's a presumption.

Today, I was having an orientation at the gym that I joined so that I can walk someplace where the heat index isn't 113 degrees. There are TVs on the machines (you have to have earphones to hear the sound) and I glanced up at one of them. Trump was giving a speech and there were subtitles and the only word on the screen was, "Sartre."

I will spend the rest of my life pondering the meaning of this. It was a very existential experience.

AMDG

There was a series of "memes" on Facebook associating Trump with quotes from Nietzsche. They were pretty funny.

I basically agree with your point, Rob, but I quibble with the term "fiscally conservative" as a description of the current default. I tend to think it's disappeared from the talking points because nobody votes on that basis anymore, or expects anything other than steadily growing spending. I'd describe the default (as I guess I already did) as "socially liberal but business-friendly."

Maclin, I like those Memes. It's some college professor, I think. I started by sharing them, then I tried to cut back my anti-Trump ranting. Not very successfully, but I'm trying!

More than anything else I'm just stunned. Just can't believe this has happened.

~~~I'd describe the default (as I guess I already did) as "socially liberal but business-friendly."~~~

Yep -- no argument from me there. The times I've had discussions online with self-described "neo-liberals," that's pretty much what their view boils down to.

I haven't thought about it, but it's very likely that "fiscally conservative" means something rather different now than it did 20 years ago.

The social conservative right and the labor-centric left are both pretty much out in the cold now with respect to their usual political parties. Libertine Trump as candidate of the former's former home, one-time Wal-Mart board member H Clinton of the latter's.

Sometimes I wonder if the fiscal problem--the tens of trillions in debt and the lack of any hope or intent of getting out from under it--will actually be the thing that plunges the country into some sort of serious crisis.

Maclin: More than anything else I'm just stunned. Just can't believe this has happened.

That's how I feel. I never watched the primaries/caucuses before. I was here in 2012 but I dont do TV or newspapers in Lent, and later I couldn't follow what was happening. To begin with, the 2016 race was very enjoyable, like a long running sports match. I agreed with Queenan in the WSJ that if the primaries didnt last so long, people would have spent six months talking about the Kardashians. It was fun down until January or so. Then conservativ friends began having that debate about whether one had to vote for Trump to block Clinton - that first happened in my environs a little while before super Tuesday. Then it got scarier and scarier, but I was convinced that at some point some 'deus ex machina' would intervene and put in someone decent. I couldn't really believe that they would let this happen.

As far as Mrs Clinton is concerned, I thought the Dems would try harder to avoid her, too. I think they might have done if she had been up against anyone else. They did make moves toward putting someone else forward, in the autumn, when it looked like an electable Republican could be put up against her.

I know I post a fair amount about politics here, but I tend to be more interested in the big picture than on details, even election details, and not at all in the kind of detail that real political junkies deal in. So I definitely was not paying much attention at this time last year. As far as I can remember the first time I gave much thought to Trump was last August, when he gave a speech in this area and my wife and I watched it on tv out of curiosity. We were stunned and shocked. Most of it was barely coherent egotistical bluster.

Even then I didn't take him very seriously for a long time. I thought there was no way he could actually be nominated. I guess the point where I began to be alarmed was probably early in the year, as you say. And then it began to seem tragic, because Trump could have been stopped at several points if most of the other candidates would have dropped out and non-Trump-supporters had gravitated to one or two others. It didn't happen, and it didn't happen, and it kept not happening till he won.

I was certain that he couldn't beat Hillary, and now I'm not so sure about that.

It seems very questionable to me whether the Republican party can survive this, or at least whether it can remain a serious competitor to the Democrats. I certainly don't want anything to do with it at this point. I never registered as a Republican but have mostly voted that way since the early '80s. I'm very relieved that my vote doesn't much matter, as my state is very red.

It's also going to be really hard to take the Democrats playing up Hillary's VP pick, Tim Kaine, as a "devout Catholic," considering his abominable record on abortion the last few years.

It's horrible but I can't even be outraged anymore, after all the years of listening to Pelosi and so many others. They make Mario Cuomo--if you remember his pro-"choice" pontifications--seem like a philosopher.

Now I did feel a bit ill when I heard Kaine described as "a Pope Francis Catholic."

And news came out over the weekend that the DNC seems to have been actively involved in working to scuttle the Sanders campaign, which can't make Bernie's crowd happy. Not sure it will matter at the convention, though it would be fun to see Sanders pull a Cruz, and take back his endorsement of HRC.

I've never been less interested in an election, except as a sort of car-wreck interest. I think we're screwed either way.

Kaine may drive some more conservative Catholics to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

And the DNC chair who helped run the anti-Sanders stuff resigned, then was instantly hired by Hillary's campaign. If I were a Sanders supporter I'd be ready to break out the torches and pitchforks. There's also smoking-gun evidence of severe journalistic malpractice, with journalists working directly with the DNC. No big surprise there.

Yes, it is a wreck. I can't help leaning toward a slight preference for Trump winning, even though also I can't imagine him not being a disaster in some way or other. To say the Democrats will be more competent at this point is to say there will be good progress toward the kind of soft totalitarianism we've talked about.

"I can't help leaning toward a slight preference for Trump winning, even though also I can't imagine him not being a disaster in some way or other."

My feelings exactly. It's a "devil you know" vs. a "devil you don't know" situation, but in this case the former is particularly bad.

It seems very questionable to me whether the Republican party can survive this, or at least whether it can remain a serious competitor to the Democrats.

Rothenberg's projections indicate the House of Representatives will remain Republican and the Senate will be a 50-50 split. Neither candidate for President will have a walk. The 'survival' of the parties is not at stake.

Our political system really does not permit of resolving any problems at the federal level, merely papering things over until events on the ground resolve them (if that). Frustration, wheel-spinning, stagnation, and slow decay are the order of the day, and, I would wager, will continue to be.

because Trump could have been stopped at several points if most of the other candidates would have dropped out and non-Trump-supporters had gravitated to one or two others.

The resorting which occurred each time a competitor left the race suggested that Trump would have a slim majority in a two-candidate race - at a point where a designated challenger would need a supermajority to wrest the nomination away from him. Voters in tune with the attitudes of the Capitol Hill / K Street nexus would have been inclined to pick up their marbles and go home rather than vote for Ted Cruz, who was anathema to the Senate Majority leader.

"I can't help leaning toward a slight preference for Trump winning, even though also I can't imagine him not being a disaster in some way or other."

Sorry. Can't do it.

He didn't say he was going to vote for him.

AMDG

Correct. I am in fact not voting for either of them. Fortunately I don't have to wrestle with the question of whether that helps Hillary, because I live in a very pro-Trump state.

Right. Still, I'm in a swing state. I'm not going to help it swing either way.

"Rothenberg's projections indicate the House of Representatives will remain Republican and the Senate will be a 50-50 split. Neither candidate for President will have a walk. The 'survival' of the parties is not at stake."

I don't mean whether the Republicans will keep the House and/or Senate. I mean longer term. And not that it will cease to exist any time soon, but it may become marginalized. If Trump loses that could certainly happen.

"Frustration, wheel-spinning, stagnation, and slow decay are the order of the day, and, I would wager, will continue to be."

Yes, but you left out increasing hatred. :-/

I don't mean whether the Republicans will keep the House and/or Senate. I mean longer term. And not that it will cease to exist any time soon, but it may become marginalized. If Trump loses that could certainly happen.

I cannot figure what your basis is for making that judgment about the shorter term or the longer term.

As for being 'marginalized', that's already happened with the replacement of legal reasoning with verbal legerdemain promoting the prejudices of the law professoriate, as well as the disappearance of any dissenting voices from arts and sciences faculties. Enablers of the one are politicians of the ilk of AM McConnell and enablers of the other are the sort of lawyers and business executives who sit on boards of trustees.

Mac: I can't help leaning toward a slight preference for Trump winning, even though also I can't imagine him not being a disaster in some way or other.

Yes, imagine this: On November 6, would you feel slightly relieved that Trump was stopped, if Clinton wins OR on November 6 would you feel slightly relieved that Clinton was stopped if Trump wins.

I would feel more relief about the stopping of Clinton.

That doesn't mean going in for rationalizations or any kind of Trumpkinism. It doesn't mean turning a blind eye to stuff like Trump's ties with Putin, and the follow on that can have for Ukraine and the Baltic states. It doesn't mean believing that he would appoint three prolife judges, a Life Site news seems fondly to imagine.

That's a good way to think about it--which would be a relief? And I would feel more relief at Clinton being stopped, too.

These social conservatives, evangelical Christians, etc., who think Trump is firmly on their side just baffle me completely. I wouldn't know what to say to them.

"As for being 'marginalized', that's already happened..."

Well, sure, but it can get a whole lot worse. Up until now there has been at least some resistance from the Republican party as a party. I'm not at all sure that will be the case for much longer.

"Up until now there has been at least some resistance from the Republican party as a party. I'm not at all sure that will be the case for much longer."

If the GOP believes it can carry on without social/religious conservatives, it will almost certainly try to do so.

These social conservatives, evangelical Christians, etc., who think Trump is firmly on their side just baffle me completely. I wouldn't know what to say to them.

I've encountered in these fora social conservatives who favor Trump for one reason or another and dyed-in-the-melt Trump admirers. The venn diagram does not have much intersection. There's been a controversy at Liberty University. Is that what you had in mind?

No particular instance in mind. There seem to be a lot of them. For instance the LifeSite people that Grumpy mentioned.

"If the GOP believes it can carry on without social/religious conservatives, it will almost certainly try to do so."

I think it will try. And a surprising number, as we're just discussing, seem willing to hang on desperately.

I mean, there is still a devil-you-know vs devil-you-don't-know argument that a candidate like Trump might actually, for instance, nominate a constitutionalist for the SC. But it's a pretty thin thread at this point.

That is, it's not the lesser-evil sort of choice that puzzles me, it's the enthusiastic he's-one-of-us evangelical crowd.

it's the enthusiastic he's-one-of-us evangelical crowd.

I'm not aware of any. I think Mike Huckabee's daughter was a Trump campaign employee at one point.

Oh they're out there for sure, including some pretty visible ones. Can't speak to the numbers, or recall any specific names. I'm basing this mostly on news stories I see posted on Facebook, either by said evangelicals expressing enthusiasm or by liberals expressing horror and contempt.

In my current line of business I meet a fair number of Trumpkins, and there are more Protestants than Catholics. But there are Catholics too.

C.S. Lewis must have been given a spirit of prophesy when he came up with the name "Trumpkin".

This afternoon I was trying to remember what Trumpkin did. He was a good guy, wasn't he?

AMDG

Yes, really good. I think y'all have to think up another name for followers of the Donald.

AMDG

I believe Louise invented the term Trumpkin and it sounds OK to me.

No, it's in Lewis. Possibly Louise could have invented it independently, but she's probably read the Narnia books.

Anyway: my bad, I was thinking Trumpkin was the treacherous dwarf in Prince Caspian, but he was indeed a good guy. So the name is not as appropriate as I thought.

No I mean Louise invented it as a term for the Trump-followers on this blog

I remember years ago, in the late 1980s watching the General Election results come in at my brother's house. Might have been 1987? In any case, it was not an all nighter - by about 2 am it was clear that the Tories under Mrs Thatcher had a majority, for the third (?) time in succession. My brother was no socialist but always to the left of me (which was never difficult). It had been or seemed an open question whether the Tories could get a third term in office. When the final results came through on TV, my brother said 'I'm relieved.' I always remember that. One might not be 'for the Tories,' and by the late 1980s it had become difficult to be so. Repeated victory had made the wealthy arrogant and unpleasant. There were many scandalous court cases, in which the wealthy were openly favoured, and a great deal of police corruption. Being a paddy or a squatter seemed in some cases sufficient to get one fitted up and charged with planting an IRA bomb. As far as I was concerned, of course, there was all that plus the Tories were insufficiently libertarian for my tastes! And yet there it was, on election night we were relieved to see them returned, and not Labour.

I don't think I've ever had that experience. It's always been pretty straight-up my candidate lost or my candidate won. Though now that you mention it, when the other guys won I think there was just a bit of consolation in the fact that I wouldn't have to listen to my candidate be trashed, possibly for good reason, for the next four years.

Slightly related: I had thought I might do a blog post about this but will go ahead and mention it. I watched the English House of Cards a couple of months ago, and was really struck by the strong anti-Thatcher, anti-Tory malice of it. The American one is, surprisingly, relatively non-partisan. It focuses on a really corrupt and just plain evil couple, but the paraphernalia of the plot doesn't really get that involved in the issues of the day or go for the usual cheap shots against Republicans. The evil couple in fact are Democrats--pretty strange for American tv/movies--and it doesn't really matter all that much to the story. The English one was made in 1990 which certainly fits with what you said.

Y'all made me curious about "Trumpkin". Looks like its first use here was indeed by Louise in a comment on this post. No indication that any of us made the Lewis connection. It isn't obvious whether Louise had invented it herself, remembered it from Lewis, or had picked it up somewhere else. If she happens along and reads this maybe she'll remember. Not that it matters, I'm just wondering now.

I thought Louise made it up on the spot and it sounded goog to me

Mac, the other day you asked about my current reading on the religious liberty issue. My concern boils down to this. If democracy tends to the tyranny of the majority, does the American, largely Lockean, understanding of religious liberty likewise tend to the tyranny of the irreligious?

The Lockean understanding of religious toleration holds no place for any perceived divided loyalty between one's religion and the state (hence its prominent anti-Catholicism). We've now reached a point where the state is moving in an ever-increasing and blatantly "progressive" direction, and to be resistant to this because of one's faith is to evince, in the eyes of the elites, a suspicious divided loyalty. When you add to this the fact that progressivism is being increasingly driven by the "nones," who being irreligious have no personal stake in religious liberty, other than in a "freedom from..." sense, I'm wondering if the American version of religious liberty is finally showing an inherent and ultimately fatal weakness.

Grumpy, if I remember correctly, you don't care for C.S. Lewis's Narnia stories, so not surprising that you didn't recognize the name from there. Trumpkin is a dwarf. In (I think) the same book that Trumpkin occurs in, there is an evil dwarf, and I was thinking he was Trumpkin, and that's what I thought made the name so funny for Trump followers. But as Janet says I was mistaken. Anyway, as you say, it's a good name on its own. 'Trumpeters' is another one I've heard.

Rob, I think it most definitely is. I'll say more later. Got to take the dog out.

Trumpeters is something that occurred to me, but that reminds me of Trumpet of the Swan, so I don't care for that association either. ;-)

AMDG

My first thought about that was that it sounds too positive. But I've been telling myself I shouldn't be so disparaging about Trump supporters at large. Yeah, a lot of them are awful, but I know some who are perfectly decent people, ordinary Americans who are very upset at the way the country is going and think Trump can change things.

Yes. This morning in Mass, where I shouldn't go if I feel like disparaging people, I started thinking about how it's a bad idea to lump a group of people together and think up bad names for them.

AMDG

Point taken, Janet, but I heard somebody use "Trumplodytes", and I thought that was pretty funny.

Yes. Unfortunately "Trumplodytes" is funny. So is "Sandersnistas".

Yeah, that's pretty funny.

BTW, Craig, I was trying to remember where to find those YouTube videos with the chant that show the written music as you go along.

AMDG

I think I got Trumpkins from twitter (sadly, I can't claim to have coined it). I still think it's funny, though the connection with Trumpkin the dwarf doesn't really work, does it.

What about Trumpits?

Yes, I have seen Trumpkin on twitter now too, but I heard it first from Louise.

Not at all Mac, I am very fond of Narnia. I have read it many times, but still forgot Trumpkin the dwarf. Its Lord of the Rings and above all Potter that have my anathemaa sit.

There was a piece in First Things comparing Trump to one of the Narnia dwarfs. It has received a huge number of hits. This is quite funny because there is a general unspecified ban on articles mentioning CS Lewis (more like an 'O No' than a ban), and the editorial line of the magazine is not hostile to Trump.

Rob, when I asked you about that a week or two ago, I think I was wondering if you meant the current situation, and I said something to the effect that it seems pretty straightforward to me, which it does (a clear intention to marginalize and restrict Christians).

As to the historical background, I don't know enough about Locke specifically to say, but I certainly think you're broadly right. I'm seeing a lot of that "divided loyalty" stuff--not in those words, and not directed against Rome as it would have been long ago, but an assertion that religious dissent from progressive prescription is unpatriotic and un-American. There's really a certain delight in some quarters of the left in being able to wield those weapons, which for song were wielded against them.

Right, Mac. I guess I'm wondering if the current situation is a recent "bug" or the unintended consequence of a deep-seated "feature." How we answer that question might help us in our response.


A feature, I think, albeit an unintended one. Having to do with the absence of a positive metaphysic. It's all negative--stay out of here, don't go there, we don't commit to any definite view of what human life is all about. So when the underlying consensus broke down...

Grumpy, I knew you didn't like Tolkien, guess I figured Narnia fell under the same ban. I love Tolkien but don't consider Rowling in anything close to the same league.

I keep thinking there is an old children's poem with the word "trumpkin" in it. It's driving me crazy. You could never find it on Google because there are a billion pages of Narnia and Trump.

AMDG

Doesn't ring any bells with me, for what that's worth.

Are you thinking of "Thumpkin?" Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques.

Yes! Thank you! I think it's Thumbkin, because it's about a thumb.

AMDG

Oh, right. That is what I meant.

"Where is middle-man, where is middle-man?
Here I am! Here I am!...."

Possible game-changer wrt my potential support for Trump: a friend told me last night that the Democratic platform this year has as a stated goal the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. I haven't done any checking on it yet, but if that's true it makes me a very probably Trump voter.

As much as I dislike the GOP, at least it's not full-throttle for buggery and baby-killing.

I think that's correct about the Hyde amendment. At any rate I've read the same thing. Yeah, the "at least..." reasoning is what's made me vote for Republicans for years.

Yeah, I have no illusions anymore about the GOP being "pro-life." But they're not trying to make me pay for abortions, which is meaningful in my book.

This is an instance of what I had in mind when I said the religious liberty situation is pretty clear.

It's so clear, in that practical sense, that I'll never even consider voting for anyone who proposes to increase the power of the federal government. That's why I never even bothered to learn anything about Bernie Sanders.

Absolutely with you there.

My problem is that when you vote GOP you're voting to increase corporate power, which in this day and age is in many ways just as problematic. It's like you're voting for either one head or the other of the Leviathan, which of course doesn't get you anywhere.

"It's like you're voting for either one head or the other of the Leviathan, which of course doesn't get you anywhere."

Yep. Or maybe it is like the Hydra's head. You defeat one and two come back.

I've always tended to view corporate power as somewhat less dangerous because they can't (legally) put you in jail or kill you. The old monopoly on violence argument. But the two are getting more closely connected all the time.

Related: a day or two ago on Facebook someone said there is a new word, "pinkwashing", which describes corporations that ostentatiously go all out for the gay agenda in order to distract attention from their use of quasi-slave-labor in third-world countries.

Realized after posting the above that I should just Google the word if I want to know whether it's a real thing or not. Yes, but not necessarily with the particular twist I heard:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkwashing_(LGBT)

"But the two are getting more closely connected all the time."

Yep, that's the problem esp. as the corporations get larger and more powerful.

They may not be able to put you in jail or kill you, but they seem to be able to get your property away from you rather handily if they have enough money--not much of which goes to you.

AMDG

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