Taking down the Christmas tree...
Beethoven: Septet in Eb Op. 20

Politics and Pretty Boy Floyd

As through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men
Some will rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen

I've found myself thinking of that verse from Woody Guthrie's song "Pretty Boy Floyd" off and on for the past few days, since the Trump-inspired debacle of the 6th. (How sickening that it occurred on Epiphany.) Obviously there's a great deal to say about that, and many are having their say, but I don't have much interest in doing so, except to note that my gloomy view of where the country is headed is now significantly gloomier.

I've done a certain amount of retrospection about How We Got Here, and I keep coming back to that verse. Which is worse, the outlaw or the banker? Pretty Boy Floyd was an outlaw: a Robin Hood sort, according to the song; not exactly, according to Wikipedia. And Trump is a sort of outlaw (setting aside the question of whether he has actually broken any laws). He doesn't care much about the principles of the Constitution and pretty clearly would, to say the very least, be willing to disregard them in some situations.

The Democrats, on the other hand, don't really care much about those principles, either, but are extremely good at working within the structures of the system to do things that undermine or contradict the principles. Which is worse? At the moment Trump is spectacularly worse, but looking at the larger picture and the longer term, he may not be. 

In any case, as Michael Brendan Dougherty says today in National Review, "Anything that was good in Trump or Trumpism will be overshadowed by this disgrace." And if there is any national renewal, any regaining of some degree of unity, in our future I sure don't see it.

Anyway, here's the song. 



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Along these same lines I posted this on Dreher's blog yesterday:

~~~The key is to remember that both sides are ideologically brain-addled. The MAGA crowd might be what I'd call "dumb-crazy," while woke left-liberalism is "smart-crazy." Frankenstein vs. Dracula, basically. Or bull in the china shop vs. snake in the grass.

In general MAGA blindly reacts, wokesterism cunningly responds. The former approaches the First Amendment with a cudgel, the latter with a scalpel.

The point is not to waste time deciding which is worse, but to reject both equally. It certainly appears to be the case that "the right" is the more immediate threat, and should be handled accordingly. But throwing the bull out of the shop doesn't solve much if you then allow the snake to take up residence. The priority in terms of time needs to be the wacko right. But in the process of keeping them under control let's not forget that the wacko left is in it for the long haul. The Frankenstein monster roamed the countryside bashing and strangling people; Dracula set himself up as a subversive.

It also should be said that our elites don't really care much about this one way or the other, provided they themselves remain secure. That's why they've come out so strongly against MAGA: it actually does threaten them, or at least the political and economic edifice that keeps them secure. If BLM or Antifa ever got to that point you'd see them react similarly.~~~

The Frankenstein-Dracula analogy is brilliant, much better than outlaw-banker.

"our elites don't really care much about this one way or the other, provided they themselves remain secure."

There is a really good observation about this in Local Culture, which by the way is very good, I'm glad I subscribed. In a nutshell, without checking, I think the basic point was that there's a technocratic right and a technocratic left, and they are more alike than different, and equally indifferent to those who aren't doing well in a technocratic regime.

What Rob says does make good sense. The right is now more like the left, in that you have a large division in the party: crazy and moderate/sane. We Democrats have said for years that the best thing about Republicans was their unified stance on most everything. Meanwhile the Ds fight amongst themselves while Rs stay in power and get things done. Now, in order to preserve the Republican party and bring it back to normalcy, the Rs really need to shrug off the tainted trump brand as best they can. Armed insurgents at the nation's capitol are much worse than nutcases looting in Portland OR.

I for one have tried to read/watch MUCH less news with all of this happening. It is so sad. But thanks to all of you I do occasionally go to NR and to Dreher's page where I can happily see trump denounced by conservatives; as he should be.

"We Democrats have said for years that the best thing about Republicans was their unified stance on most everything. Meanwhile the Ds fight amongst themselves while Rs stay in power and get things done."

Heh. Republicans say exactly the same thing about their own party vs the Dems.

The current frenzy may die down, but what anyone over 50 or so considers "normalcy" is never coming back.

I appreciate that you are willing to read some conservative media.

Was that the Lasch issue of Local Culture? Yes, a very good read. I thought the Jeremy Beer piece was especially fine -- that may actually be the one you're referring to.

Yes, it was the Lasch issue, the only one I've seen. And I do recall that Beer's piece was especially fine, but am not sure this particular point came from him. I'd have to check. Since the whole issue is about Lasch, it's all blurred together.

"The current frenzy may die down, but what anyone over 50 or so considers "normalcy" is never coming back."

I'm pretty sure that's true. I was born in 1969, and here we haven't just had a highly contentious election. But things are never going to be normal again, in my understanding of the word. Things are so far gone.

I'd like to be proven wrong. But I just don't see how you reassemble the broken pieces, especially if people don't agree on what the assembled thing should look like. It's a Humpty-Dumpty situation.

FPR has posted the excellent Jeremy Beer piece mentioned above, which had originally appeared in their print journal:

https://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2021/01/limits-risk-aversion-and-technocracy/

Thanks. I think I'll put this link in a post as well.

Hmm...I was about to post this but am getting an error message when I try to go to that URL. Presumably not because it's incorrect, as I get the same error if I try to go to that page on their site. Guess I'll just wait and try again.

I had that same problem yesterday afternoon too. Seems okay now.

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