Friday, September 19, 2008

Personal Aside: What We Have Here May Lead to a Repudiation of the Establishment…Leading to a More Conservative U. S. in the Long-Run.

Let this octogenarian tell you:

Ever since prosperity hit the U. S., following the up-cycle in the Kennedy years, the so-called Establishment of the United States has drifted…first slowly, then more fiercely…culturally liberal. This would have had a greater effect on the nation’s politics than exists today but for the foolish tax and regulative policies of the Democrats. The Reagan years came and went without much change in the culture. No better exemplar of the dichotomy was Nancy Reagan who has always been pro-abort but kept her mouth shut during her husband’s tenure. With Barbara Bush the same and indeed Laura Bush the same. The result has been that the establishment consensus…and indeed political conservatism… of today is far-far less conservative than that of the past.

At one time it could be said…roughly from the end of World War I to 1960…that the leading cultural indicators—big business, Main street business, mainstream churches, the arts, foundations, the universities…were generally resistant to change for frivolity’s sake, believing when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary NOT to change. In the 1950s when I was working in Minnesota as a journalist, staffer for the Republican party, staffer for two congressmen and a governor, it could be said that the establishment of that state…big business, Main street, mainstream churches, the arts, the universities…may have been more Democratic party oriented than I would like but which was still supportive of convention, sexual and otherwise. The same when I moved to Illinois, served as an officer of a giant corporation and involved myself in Republican politics as a volunteer. Charles Percy was the first to break the code to trendy liberalism.

The Unmooring of Convention.

With prosperity of the Sixties, liberalism…including attempts to unmoor convention…became the ideology of the privileged largely through the affluent knowledge sector—emphasis on research rather than mechanical production with expansion of university fellowships, foundation grants to supposedly cure poverty and think tanks, all resulting in sale of knowledge rather than manufactured products… with banks, insurance companies and stock brokerage houses becoming more “knowledge-oriented” through computers and rudimentary information systems. Dollars flowed and as with the age-old stories in the Bible and elsewhere, laxity and comfort followed…often accompanied by a sickening effeminacy of males.

This I call the “Post-Industrial Revolution,” every bit as formidable as the Industrial Revolution. Old style conservative bastions turned culturally liberal, then politically so: Back Bay, Boston; the East Side of Manhattan; Scarsdale, New York; Shaker Heights, Ohio; suburban San Francisco; Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka and Lake Forest in Cook and Lake with “enlightened” attitudes about abortion, gay rights, entertainment. Marijuana, capital punishment and pornography.

Churches including my own Catholic one followed suit toward “toleration.” One perfumed-fingered Italianate cardinal devised a rationale to winnow down the issue of abortion to one-in-three for which he was praised by Democrats grateful for his service…his funeral serenaded by the Gay Men’s chorus whose voices conducted him to what could be imagined a sacrilegious oblivion. Another perfumed-fingered cardinal has hidden from his fellows a document written by Ratzinger that counseled clerics to deny the Eucharist to pro-abort Catholic pols…and has gotten away with it sans rebuke from Rome. Annulments for bad marriage choices were granted wholesale in my church, making it strange to reflect that had Thomas More lived today, he who opposed Henry VIII’s divorces so he lost his head on the scaffold, might have easily avoided the confrontation with the axe if an annulment for Henry were provided via the local bishop to Rome—as, certainly has been done for Ted Kennedy and John Kerry et al where contributions to archdioceses from generous families did the trick.

In all these things involving the unmooring of convention, prosperity leading to laxity changed the establishment greatly. I would not be truthful if I did not say that I played a minor role withal in furtherance of liberalism as a mental disorder. I was the one who certified active government-led discrimination in winning congressional approval for 8(a) involving affirmative action in behalf of minority firms when white firms bargaining in good faith were turned aside…done to enable my own Republican party to benefit from a bargaining for black votes. Of this I freely confess—(and have confessed more formally, believe me). At the same time the standards for candidates for the presidency disintegrated.

Where once the defender of conservatism was Robert Taft, a distinguished son of a president and outstanding legalist, we gravitated to others of lesser stature. His successor as conservative leader was Barry Goldwater whose fame rested on a best-selling book ghosted by another—a book to which he scarcely devoted sufficient time to riffle its pages. Ronald Reagan was a political natural…and I spent a number of hours with him prior to his election one-on-one…but in no sense was he a thinker or legislative craftsman as was Taft nor did he pretend to be.

Compared to the days when the Senate thrilled to hardy heroes—Taft, the sage Eugene Milliken of Colorado, Harry Byrd of Virginia, Richard Russell, the young Hubert Humphrey, William Proxmire of Wisconsin, Tom Connally of Texas—the denizens of that body seem pallid indeed, not much more than plaster people cosmeticized by handlers. Indeed even when I sat in the gallery during lunch break from the House, I saw LBJ running the Senate out of his back pocket with feats of miraculous parliamentary, Everett Dirksen his sometime ally and sometime rival trying to confound him with purple prose, Humphrey, the studious Paul Douglas…all are replaced by plastic men and women with p.r. talking points emblematic of Chuck Schumer. Indeed, the only one in recent times who was worthy to sit in those chambers has voluntarily left because his own party’s state chairman declined to back him since she was busily engaged in selling him out—Peter Fitzgerald. The state chairman became the Republican nominee for governor and enlightened us all with low rent remarks about her own proclivity to flatulence on the road.

Barack Obama is, to all who know him (and I was first to interview him on my radio program) a testament to this political decadence. He may be smart but no one can determine this since he matriculated from the Harvard I knew earlier as a Kennedy Fellow in 1977—an institution geared to affirmative action stemming from white guilt. That he was president of the “Harvard Law Review” has little meaning because Harvard has been so embroiled in the affirmative action device. It is common knowledge among employers when they seek to fulfill their employment quota with so-called Harvard lawyers, often they have to direct paralegals to translate briefs into English. Obama is better than that, has manufactured an attitude of cool…but how good is he?

What IS known is that he has not come forth during his law school days or since with any intellectual premise of the law. The course he taught at the University of Chicago was a sham as none other than Antonin Scalia has implied—Poverty and the Law, or some variant. His career in the law has been slight, pushed upward by those who recognized his wish to be elected and to say or do anything to achieve that end. His community organizer status was inconsequential; his community didn’t show any change from his work. His state senate career was un-auspicious. One can be forgiven if he concludes that Obama is an affirmative action candidate whose intellect is as paper-thin as his resume.

Prosperity and the seduction of the establishment to a vapid liberalism has seen the decline of our polity as reflected by Obama. It was caused by an avalanche of money garnered to those who shape market ideas and information to which the news media itself have become pivotal…those who largely have neglected the Judeo-Christian verities and have turned to other gods including mere celebrity. Prosperity made the knowledge elite of the Sixties produce for our country an era of ferment. One can easily demonstrate the debasement of public taste by art—but we don’t have to go to the art galleries to demonstrate.

Let’s just look at late night TV. In the 1950s Jack Parr matched wits not just with actor guests but with thinkers and leading purveyors of thought like Marshall McLuhan. His successor on “Tonight” was Johnny Carson an original and brilliant comic whose invention of the “Mighty Carson Art Players” ranked with the finest comedic examples of the American stage. HIS successor, the under-slung flap-jawed Massachusetts motorcyclist fancier Jay Leno by no means a witty commentator, just a flack for his writers who seems to try to titillate with scatalogy the loose-limbed African American guitar player purportedly representing Everyman, slouching in the band. And HIS successor will be Conan O’Brien who is a throwback to frat house sophomorics.

Post-Industrialism caused by such prosperity has seen this country decline in many ways. Johnson’s War on Poverty (sic) was one; his lack of nerve on Vietnam another. Reagan’s retreat from Lebanon when terrorists struck another. George H. W. Bush’s failure to pursue the Iraq War to the legitimate end another. Clinton’s mishandling of Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae leading to the cynical drive to encourage people who do not know how to save to buy houses another. The despicable Republican-prompted ala good ol’ Denny Hastert avalanche of spending in its congresses another. Now the markets are righting themselves from decades of excess. The pain will be much more painful to this country than an enema but may have the same effect—driving out the drivel…along with some good…to set this country right again. A chastened, sharply shriveled Establishment may react in time to understand that the far wiser choice for the presidency is John McCain…or it may not.

But anything that rebukes the present system of the Establishment will be beneficial—a system where sociologists have replaced carpenters, p. r. gurus truck drivers, analysts those who work with their hands, computer programs wheelwrights. Let the purgatorial fires burn but in the end it will be better for the United States of America which is too young to die because of decadence and depravity brought on by licentious and often unearned wealth.

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