Sunday, October 22, 2006

Back to the past

My parents raised me in a far-left sect. At the age of sixteen, with the aid of books by George Orwell and Arthur Koestler, I broke free. These experiences inoculated from the utopian enthusiasms of the sixties.

More sensible than the far leftists and the utopians were the progressive Democrats (of non-Southern variety). They had two Big Ideas. The first was a seemingly endless series of “programs” of the Great Society type, intended to provide permanent fixes for out social problems. The jibe that these undertakings were merely throwing dollars at problems seemed all too apt. Unfortunately, the progressives failed to solve the one social problem where an adequate program was essential, national health care. For their part the conservatives, who blocked our achieving something that every other advanced industrial country enjoys as a matter of course, are now hoist.with their own petard. Out industries can’t compete with their foreign counterparts, because our team is burdened with this albatross—one that the general public assumes elsewhere.

The other Big Idea of the progressives was multiculturalism. All too often this was patronizing, self-congratulatory, and superficial. It did serve to dissolve the bonds of national unity, so painfully developed over the decades. “Ex uno plures” out of one many, became our new national motto. Even now, though, the progressives--in alliance with the Wall Street Journal and its perpetual allegiance to corporate welfare—favor looking the other way when it comes to our southern border. Anything that dilutes whiteness, that “cancer of the human race” as Susan Sontag once termed it, is good.

Thanks to the corruption, profligate spending, and spectacular bungling of the Iraq War, we are poised to throw the bums out. But will this make a difference? Let me quote from that notorious Republican apologist (sic), Frank Rich. “The tough question is not whether the Democrats can win, but what will happen if they do win. The party’s message in this campaign has offered no vision beyond bashing Mr. Bush and pledging to revisit the scandals and the disastrous legislation that went down on his watch.” Rich goes on to speak of the Democrats’ embrace of “golden oldies—raising the minimum wage, enacting lobbying reform, cutting Medicare costs, etc.”

Currently there are at least four Bush-bashing plays on offer in Manhattan, each more sophomoric than the next. I am bracing myself for the inevitable. In office the Democrats will fail. Guided by the likes of Amy Goodman and Michael Moore the progressives will retreat to their redoubts, the People’s Republics of Berkeley, Santa Monica, Madison, and-—of course-—Manhattan where I live. The dinner parties grind on and on, always with the same smug platitudes. “Bush bad, we good” is but one of the mantras that they chant, the repetition dispensing with the need for any real thinking. They still believe that the farcical, moribund United Nations is the answer to world problems. The rest of the country, which does not belong to the Arugula Nation, isn't listening. But our bien pensants in Berkeley and Manhattan don't care; they create their own reality.

Since I retired a year and a half ago I have been on my way to becoming a recluse. Well, I’d better get used to it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scepticism! How wonderful! It's a useful purgative to flush utopian residues.

Yes, the Great Society never materialized, but Medicare and the Civil and Voting Rights Acts finally prevaled. So something good happened.

Hilary Clinton's mangling of universal health care and another window to pass it in 1994 has my perpetual ire. Where were progressives when she "hid" in private and tried to forge a new program without public input (ala, Cheney and Oil)? Where's their outrage at her for this unjust and horrible failure to create a scheme so utterly complex and convoluted even progressives couldn't understand it?

Government may not be the solution, but social medical insurance is! And only government can redress poverty, which coninues to infect and destroy more and more lives annually. I'm no advocate of Social Engineering, but social insurances, infrastructure, education, and poverty are clearly the things our governments must embrace. Intelligently, of course, or else we'll get Social Security Retirement schemes that are fiscally unsound morphing into extortion like we have now.

Not only are Democrats not addressing these issues, the isolated schemes they have devised are almost as nightmarish as doing nothing. They've learned nothing from the Hillarycare fiasco, because they still don't see the fiasco.

Saint Augustine once claimed that god permits heresy to make the truth shine more brilliant. (Nevermind the dissonance this suggests.) But maybe the point that failure (heresy) could point to success (truth) isn't an odd one. We profess we "learn from our mistakes." If so, we haven't had enough failures/heresies to do us much good. Yes. One would have thought the 20th C. has more than enough to offer. Apparently no amount of failure will change anyone's mind unless they're willing to uses their senses as well as their brains.

It's the senses that beheld the travesty of human deprivation and neglect, not the flood, of Katrina that should have raised the stench of poverty to national indignation. Instead, that "problem" was "solved" by sheer diaspora (which has to be better than inertia), but that was only a first step, not a solution.

Lot's of complaints. Lot's of barbs. In the end, very little had changed. And raising minimum wage will solve what? Keeping the poor poor, that's what. See, they still don't get it. I have no hopes they ever will.

11:56 AM  

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