Wednesday, July 24, 2019

July 24, 2019


MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Is the American Nation Breaking Up? What Are the Prospects? Pat Buchanan Writes

Friends,
It’s a question that increasingly arises uncomfortably in our conversations…from brief exchanges at work at the water cooler, at home with family, after church on Sunday, to our email messages to friends and associates. And to watch any amount of television news these days, to switch back and forth between, say, CNN and Fox, and to listen to their interpretations of any event or issue, no matter what, that same question clambers in the background like an unchained wild beast:

What has happened—what is happening—to the geographical entity we call the United States, to its people, to its culture? Does it not seem like the country is coming apart at its very seams, in just about everything, from its once-established moral base in a more or less historic Christian framework to its very vision of reality, of what is real and what is not?

Millions of “woke” social justice progressivists now control the Democratic Party and most of our media; they dominate our entertainment and sports industries; they push for open borders and what amounts to “population replacement” by illegal aliens; and they have a stranglehold on the near entirety of our educational system, from the primary grades to our colleges.

Each year those institutions turn out millions of freshly-minted automatons—intellectual zombies—who think like their unhinged teachers and professors have trained them, and who then take up responsible positions in our society and increasingly support and vote for a type of verifiable madness which, like an unstoppable centrifugal force, is tearing this country apart, creating unbridgeable divisions that no amount of misdirected pleading or faux-compromise can repair.

Back on June 30, 2017, in the traditionalist Catholic journal, The Remnant, I published an essay which, in some ways, sums up this process:
“The Revolutionaries tell us that they strive for ‘equality’ and ‘liberation from restraints,’ and that they work ‘against racism and sexism.’ But their program—their revolution—turns liberty on its head, inverts rationality, and enslaves millions in unrequited passions and desire, unbound and unreasoned, cocooned in a pseudo-reality. It is, to paraphrase the great English essayist and poet G. K. Chesterton, the definition of real lunacy. 
“In his volume, The Poet and the Lunatics (1929), Chesterton’s character Gale asks the question: ‘What exactly is liberty?’ He responds, in part:
‘First and foremost, surely, it is the power of a thing to be itself. In some ways the yellow bird was free in the cage…We are limited by our brains and bodies; and if we break out, we cease to be ourselves, and, perhaps, to be anything.

The lunatic is he who loses his way and cannot return…. The man who opened the bird-cage loved freedom; possibly too much... But the man who broke the bowl merely because he thought it a prison for the fish, when it was their only possible house of life—that man was already outside the world of reason, raging with a desire to be outside of everything.’ [Italics added]
“Our modern revolutionaries, whether out in the streets demonstrating like wailing banshees, or nightly broadcasting ideological pablum they call news, or parading before a Senate committee (or on that committee!), or indoctrinating gullible, nearly soulless students in supposed ‘centers of higher education,’ are, to use Chesterton’s parable, lunatics: men ‘already outside the world of reason,’ whose unrestrained rage to destroy is only matched by their profound inability to create anything of real and lasting value.
“Theirs is the orthodoxy of cultural [post] Marxism that, despite all its farrago of ‘defeating racism, sexism, homophobia, and white supremacy,’ and establishing equality all round, is ultimately unachievable, an exercise in destructive lunacy. And thus its proponents are, measured by the reality of thousands of years of our Christian civilization and by the laws of nature, insane.”
This element, this force in our country, which now numbers many millions of votaries, works feverishly and tirelessly to achieve its goals and objectives. And, as we have seen vividly, especially since the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, it will do anything, use any tactic, including defamation, lawsuits, censorship, even violence to achieve its ends.
I asked in an essay in The Abbeville Institute on February 2, 2019:
“Is America finished? Is the fragile ‘experiment in republicanism’ begun in Philadelphia in 1787 finally over, or at the very least experiencing its noisy death throes?
“Certainly, since the defeat of the American constitutional system in 1865 there has been a pernicious and seriously destructive trajectory in our history which, now reaching unimagined and unparalleled frenzy, seems to indicate so.
“Are we not living in a geographical entity officially called the United States of America where verifiably there are at least TWO Americas, TWO conceptions of what is real and what is not real, TWO ideas of what is moral and what is not, TWO views about Truth and Error, TWO visions about using whatever means is available to reach a desired and posited end (which for one of these groups is the creation of a brutal, vicious and soulless ‘utopia’ that would make Joe Stalin’s Communism seem like Disneyland in comparison)?
“Words—‘devil terms’—now pop up with amazing regularity and frequency: racism, white privilege, sexism, toxic masculinity, equality, democracy, and so on. And these terms have been weaponized and are now employed by those on the Left—but also by many elitist movement conservatives (‘conservatism inc.’)—to disauthorize, condemn, and damn anyone who would actually oppose the rapid Leftward spiral of what remains of this nation.
“Not just the wide-eyed unhinged talking heads on CNN and MSNBC and on Twitter, but such ‘respectable’ conservative voices as Bill Kristol, Hew Hewitt, and National Review and various Republican types, have joined in with the baying mob. Their hardly-concealed hatred for ‘middle America,’ for that lumpenproletariat of hard-working, gun—owning, church-going, underpaid folks who still try to raise a family morally on a shrinking salary, knows no bounds.
“Perhaps as many as one half of our citizens, those who over the decades have become the identifiable elites and financial, political and cultural ‘upper crust,’ look upon the rest of us as mere rubes, a servile class who are not supposed to have a voice—this, you see, is now ‘American democracy.’
“Those folks—our folks—were not supposed to get restive, not supposed to get off the ‘reservation’ assigned to us. But in 2016 we did, we did because instinctively we knew that the old promises of this nation had fallen by the wayside, that an unelected managerial class—an elite more connected globally and more loyal to its own class and more concerned about conserving its power and authority—guided our destiny and did not give a damn about us, despite the constant stream of vomited campaign promises and solemn avowals we hear every election season.
“Many of us were stunned at the unleashed and vile hatred directed at us. All we had done was ask—in the normal way at the voting booth—that the long-forgotten promises of the Framers be fulfilled. All we had done was ask that our elected leaders in Congress and in government (and those elites) finally acknowledge our just requests.
“But those elites—the media, the entertainment industry, almost the entirety of academia, and not just the Progressivist Democrat Left, but also those supposed defenders of our interests, ‘conservatism inc.’—responded not only with undisguised and unrestrained anger, but with disdain, contempt and condescension…and with a steady diet of what, charitably, can only be described as lies, fabrications, assaults on our character, attempts to suppress our guaranteed rights to speech and expression, shaming us, and efforts (many successful) to destroy our livelihoods or get us fired from our jobs or dismissed from our schools.
“…it is not a hatred that emits from our folks, not from the ‘deplorables,’ but from that ‘other America’ that feels threatened by the ‘natives’—threatened by those of us on the giant fly-over plantation between the million dollar mansions surrounded by walls in Silicon Valley and the paneled million dollar board rooms on Wall Street where the international globalists gather to plot the future of the world: a world enmeshed in slogans about ‘the fruits of democracy’ and ‘equal rights,’ where ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’ will finally be banished….but where, in fact, the very contrary will exist, where democracy will have become a totalitarian dystopia a thousand times worse than what George Orwell envisioned in his phantasmagoric novel Nineteen Eighty Four.
“Even if these two Americas still use the same language they are increasingly incapable of communicating with each other, as almost weekly words and terms are redefined beyond comprehension. The new ‘devil terms’ are fierce and nearly unstoppable weapons used to destroy and humiliate; they are the modern version of hydrogen bombs deployed by the Progressivists. They illustrate what political theorist Paul Gottfried calls a ‘post-Marxist’ praxis that has actually moved beyond the assaults of cultural Marxism towards a new imposed narrative and what German philosophers might call a ‘gestalt.’
“You cannot dissent from it, you cannot deny it. If it demands you call black, white; then you must comply, or suffer the consequences. If your eyes tell you one thing, but the collective media and elites tells you something else, ‘who you gonna believe, them or your lying eyes’?
“I have come to the conclusion, fitfully and uncomfortably…that America in 2019 faces three choices for its future:
“(1) Either there must be some large mass conversion of one side or the other (a ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion?), probably occasioned by some immense and earth-shaking event, war, depression, disaster; (2) the secession of large portions of what is presently geographically the United States, including possibly enclaves within some states that would basically exit those jurisdictions—this secession could be peaceable, although increasingly I think it would not be; or lastly, and worst, (3) the devolution of this country into open and vicious civil and guerrilla war.
“I am not at all comforted by this vision, but, frankly, given the present state of this nation, is there any other possibility? After all, despite the pious pinning of the Neoconservative publicists that America is the world’s ‘exceptional’ nation, the new Utopia, God did not grant us national eternity, did not guarantee our future. And our leaders and many of our citizens have done their damnedest to undo and undermine all those original hopes and promises.”
I wrote those lines only six months ago, and I believe they are even more on target today.

Without doubt, things have only gotten worse since then. The madness, the lunacy—and that is certainly what it is—has only increased, exponentially. There are so many examples of it, it is so rampant in our society, that our surprise and outrage has become inured: think of something incredibly and impossibly awful and crazy…and, lo, it actually will happen in our mad society.

There are only a very few things, a few statements by Abraham Lincoln that I can agree with. One of them was this (1858): "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

The time has come; the moment has arrived for us to discuss not only what is wrong with the country, but how we actually resolve the issues that confront us. And some sort of separation, hopefully peaceful, might be the least disagreeable course. The other options, all of them, bring violence, civil war, and probably dictatorship. And that is something we should hope to avoid.

*****
Here I offer two recent Pat Buchanan columns, and he examines some of these same themes in brief but very probing comments:

America: An Us vs. Them Country
By Patrick J. Buchanan  Tuesday - July 22, 2019

"Send her back! Send her back!"  The 13 seconds of that chant at the rally in North Carolina, in response to Donald Trump's recital of the outrages of Somali-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, will not soon be forgotten, or forgiven.

This phrase will have a long shelf life. T-shirts emblazoned with "Send Her Back!" and Old Glory are already on sale on eBay.  Look for the chant at future Trump rallies, as his followers now realize that the chant drives the elites straight up the wall.  That 13-second chant and Trump's earlier tweet to the four radical congresswomen of "the Squad" to "go back" to where they came from is being taken as the smoking gun that convicts Trump as an irredeemable racist whose "base" is poisoned by the same hate.

Writes The New York Times' Charles Blow in a column that uses "racist" or "racism" more than 30 times: Americans who do not concede that Trump is a racist — are themselves racists: "Make no mistake. Denying racism or refusing to call it out is also racist."

But what is racism?  Is it not a manifest dislike or hatred of people of color because of their color? Trump was not denouncing the ethnicity or race of Ilhan Omar in his rally speech. He was reciting and denouncing what Omar said, just as Nancy Pelosi was denouncing what Omar and the Squad were saying and doing when she mocked their posturing and green agenda.

Clearly, Americans disagree on what racism is. Writes Blow: "A USA Today/Ipsos poll published on July 17 found that more than twice as many Americans believe that people who call others racists do so 'in bad faith' compared with those who do not believe it."

Republicans and conservatives believe "racist" is a term the left employs to stigmatize, smear and silence adversaries. As one wag put it, a racist is a conservative who is winning an argument with a liberal.

In the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton famously said of Trump's populist base, "You could put half of them into what I call the basket of deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic."

More than that, "Some ... are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America." To Hillary, Trump supporters were not part of the good America, the enlightened America.

Her defamation of Trump's followers meshes with the media's depiction of the folks laughing, hooting and chanting in North Carolina.

Trump supporters know what the media think of them, which is why in Middle America the media have a crisis of credibility and moral authority. Trump's true believers do not believe them, trust them, like them or respect them. And the feeling is obviously mutual.

While raw and rough, how does the 13-second chant, "Send her back!" compare in viciousness to the chant of 1960s students on Ivy League and other campuses: "Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh! The NLF is going to win!" This was chanted at demonstrations when the NLF, the Viet Cong, was killing hundreds of American soldiers every week.  How does 13 seconds of "Send her back!" compare with the chant of the mob that shut down midtown Manhattan in December 2014: "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!"

This past week revealed anew what we Americans think of each other, which portends trouble ahead for the republic.

For a democracy to endure, there has to be an assumption that the loser in an election holds a promissory note that new elections are only a few years off. And if the losers can persuade a majority to support them, they can reassume positions of authority and realize their agenda.

Trump's 40-45 percent of the nation is not only being constantly castigated and demonized by the establishment media but it is also being told that, in the not far distant future, it will be demographically swamped by the rising numbers of new migrants pouring into the country.  Your time is about up, it hears.

And most of the Democratic candidates have admitted that, if elected, the border wall will never be built, breaking into the country will cease to be a crime, ICE will be abolished, sanctuary cities will be expanded, illegal immigrants will be eligible for free health care and, for millions of people hiding here illegally, amnesty and a path to citizenship will be granted.

America, they are saying, will be so unalterably changed in a few years, your kind will never realize political power again, and your America will vanish in a different America where the Squad and like-minded leftists set the agenda.

Will the deplorables, who number in the scores of millions, accept a future where they and their children and children's children are to submit to permanent rule by people who visibly detest them and see them as racists, sexists and fascists?

Will Middle America go gentle into that good night?

Are Abortion & Gay Rights American Values?
By Patrick J. Buchanan  Tuesday - June 10, 2019
"My religion defines who I am. And I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life," said Vice President Joe Biden in 2012. "I accept my church's position on abortion as ... doctrine. Life begins at conception. ... I just refuse to impose that on others."

For four decades, Biden backed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of the tax dollars of Joe's fellow Catholics to pay for what they view as the killing of the innocent unborn. Last week, Joe flipped. He now backs the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America welcomed home the prodigal son: "We're pleased that Joe Biden has joined the rest of the 2020 Democratic field in coalescing around the Party's core values — support for abortion rights."

But when did the right to an abortion — a crime in many states before 1973 — become a "core value" of the Democratic Party?

And what are these "values" of which politicians incessantly talk?  Are they immutable? Or do they change with the changing times?

Last month, Disney CEO Bob Iger said his company may cease filming in Georgia if its new anti-abortion law takes effect: "If (the bill) becomes law, I don't see how it's practical for us to continue to shoot there."

The Georgia law outlaws almost all abortions, once a heartbeat is detected, some six to eight weeks into pregnancy. It reflects the Christian conservative values of millions of Georgians. To Iger and Hollywood, however, Georgia's law radically restricts the "reproductive rights" of women, and is a moral outrage.

What we have here is a clash of values.

What one side believes is preserving the God-given right to life for the unborn, the other regards as an assault on the rights of women.

The clash raises questions that go beyond our culture war to what America should stand for in the world. "American interests and American values are inseparable," Pete Buttigieg told Rachel Maddow. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Claremont Institute: "We have had too little courage to confront regimes squarely opposed to our interests and our values."

Are Pompeo and Mayor Pete talking about the same values? The mayor is proudly gay and in a same-sex marriage. Yet the right to same-sex marriage did not even exist in this country until the Supreme Court discovered it a few years ago. In a 2011 speech to the U.N., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Gay rights are human rights," and she approved of U.S. embassies flying the rainbow flag during Pride Month.

This year, Mike Pompeo told the U.S. embassy in Brazil not to fly the rainbow flag. He explained his concept of his moral duty to the Christian Broadcasting Network, "The task I have is informed by my understanding of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior."

The Christian values Pompeo espouses on abortion and gay rights are in conflict with what progressives now call human rights.

And the world mirrors the American divide. There are gay pride parades in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but none in Riyadh and Mecca. In Brunei, homosexuality can get you killed.

To many Americans, diversity — racial, ethnic, cultural, religious — is our greatest strength.

Yet Poland and Hungary are proudly ethnonationalist. South Korea and Japan fiercely resist the racial and ethnic diversity immigration would bring. Catalans and Scots in this century, like Quebecois in the last, seek to secede from nations to which they have belonged for centuries.

Are ethnonationalist nations less righteous than diverse nations likes ours? And if diversity is an American value, is it really a universal value?

Consider the treasured rights of our First Amendment — freedom of speech, religion and the press.

Saudi Arabia does not permit Christian preachers. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, converts to Christianity face savage reprisals. In Buddhist Myanmar, Muslims are ethnically cleansed. These nations reject an equality of all faiths, believing instead in the primacy of their own majority faith. They reject our wall of separation between religion and state. Our values and their values conflict.

What makes ours right and theirs wrong? Why should our views and values prevail in what are, after all, their countries?

Under our Constitution, many practices are protected — abortion, blasphemy, pornography, flag-burning, trashing religious beliefs — that other nations regard as symptoms of a disintegrating society.

When Hillary Clinton said half of all Trump supporters could be put into a "basket of deplorables" for being "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic," she was conceding that many Trump's supporters detest many progressive values.

True, but in the era of Trump, why should her liberal values be the values America champions abroad?

With secularism's triumph, we Americans have no common religion, no common faith, no common font of moral truth. We disagree on what is right and wrong, moral and immoral.

Without an agreed-upon higher authority, values become matters of opinion. And ours are in conflict and irreconcilable.

Understood. But how, then, do we remain one nation and one people?

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