The Way We Are, No. 2

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Shine on, O perishing Republic.  —Robinson Jeffers

If Western man in the future should recover his analytical ability, our times will be known as the age in which trivia replaced culture and bureaucracy replaced life.

Economic stimulus: On the face of it, the proposition that we can borrow and spend ourselves into prosperity is lunacy.

Actually, it is worse than lunacy.  It is a means of enjoying luxury by shifting the costs to posterity.  But, then, Americans no longer are conscious of any posterity, any more than they recognise any ancestors.

It was recently reported that the Feds are forbidding sale of and destroying all children’s books published before 1985 (allegedly for reasons of health).  This is just the beginning of the campaign to rewrite the past.  As Orwell put it, he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future.  (But, of course, it is “for the children.”  Like Waco.)

Politicians lie whenever they can get away with it and it is to their advantage.  It is their stock-in-trade to pretend competence and integrity that they do not have.  So strong is the habit that some even lie when they don’t have to.

A great many Americans refuse to speak obvious truths because the truth is not “nice” and might lower their respectability.

This allows politicians to to lie safely.  Two of our most acute foreign observers, Tocqueville in the 19th century and Solzhenitsyn in the 20th, found the predominant characteristic of Americans to be a desire for respectable conformity.

The poet Edgar Lee Masters (and poets see things that other men do not) wrote about a characteristic American “refusal of the truth.”

One fears that the voters can no longer distinguish cleverness from wisdom.  But, of course, that has been true for a long time.

An American goody-goody statement that you have heard all your life: “Fighting never solves anything.”  This is absurd.  One of the very few potentially positive things about fighting is that it sometimes does solve things.  This statement is made by the same people who think peace will be promoted by disarming everyone except the government and other criminals.

I just checked the Constitution again and I don’t find where the government is supposed to promote “diversity.”  I also don’t find where President Obama has any mandate for enlisting me in “the remaking of America” and in “duty to the world” as he recently told me.

I remember with shame that years ago, in youthful ignorance, I actually pulled for William Buckley over Gore Vidal during that famous TV altercation.  I am thankful that time has given me the ability to distinguish a genuine man of letters from a pompous pseudo-intellectual poseur.

It is a simple unquestionable truth that no public official or other public person in the U.S. today could meet the minimal ethical standards of the founding generation of Americans. If the founding generation is the measure of wisdom, integrity, and patriotism, then present-day leaders don’t even make the farm team.

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