Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Understanding the Intimidation of Justice Roberts

Whether or not Chief Justice Roberts changed his mind about ObamaCare because of liberal media intimidation doesn't change anything.

The fact is that all politics is civil war by other means.  Different groups have different power centers.  When you are fighting the political wars you cannot just do frontal assaults like World War I.

By the end of World War I the Germans figured out how to attack an entrenched line.  You divide up your assault force into small squads, each led by an NCO.  The job of the squads is to find the soft spots in the line, penetrate them, and then call for reinforcements.  You have to hit the enemy where he is weakest.  Otherwise you get defeated.

Same thing goes for conservative politics.  We cannot expect to win with a frontal assault on liberalism in the Supreme Court.  That's because the present ruling class is not a landed ruling class or a business ruling class; it is an educated ruling class.  If the Supreme Court ruled against ObamaCare 5-4 the educated ruling class would combine to utterly destroy the intellectual basis of the ruling.  It wouldn't matter how specious and mendacious the attacks would be.  The conservative court would just get overwhelmed.  And then where would we be?

Whatever the strength of conservatism, it cannot concentrate in the intellectual strongholds of the educated elite.  It has to concentrate elsewhere and then storm the liberal strongholds.

The overriding goal of the conservative movement is to overthrow the current regime of big-government hegemony, the "internal colonialism" of a wise and beneficent Oz that knows better than the people how to organize life in this advanced and complicated world, a world too complex and too bewildering for ordinary people to navigate without expert supervision.  Colonialism is colonialism, whether conducted by the British in India, local strongmen in Africa, or liberals in the United States federal government.

There is a role for experts in our modern society.  But the lesson of the 20th century is that you don't want the experts in an unholy coalition with the politicians.  Why is that?  Because when you build anything, from a building to a social program, you will probably build it wrong and have to change it.  Government is singularly ineffective at responding to problems with timely solutions.  There is a simple reason for this.  Government is force; it can only deal with problems that have got beyond mere disagreement.  It is the agency for imposing solutions, not working them out.

Modern conservatism has build an intellectual system that experiences government as a force that needs to be limited to the problems that really need force, like Commies on a world-wide expansion or single young men on an urban rampage.  But liberals won't listen to us.

So what do we do?

First of all, there is good news on the ideas front. In the last 50 years, many left-wing writers have given us ideas that confirm and validate our conservative instincts.  Horkheimer and Adorno said that the much vaunted Reason of the Enlightenment is a force for domination of Nature and other men.  Juergen Habermas has extended their analysis and called for the development of the person-to-person "lifeworld" of communicative discourse as against the dominative "system" world of instrumental reason.  Now we have professors like James C. Scott taking the ideas of Michel Foucault--originally intended as a critique of bourgeois capitalism--and applying them to "high modernism," the rigid bureaucratic systems of Le Courbusier and Lenin.  We have Jonathan Haidt discussing the various different ways in which moral discourse is developed and how liberals are deficient.  We have the Relational Model of sociality developed by Alan Fiske and the ideas of civil society developed by Lawrence E. Cahoone.  They all show how the bureaucratic centralism of the welfare state is ineffective and fails to conform to mankind's nature of social animals, and they are all ready to blossom when we get into a situation where the Liberal Ascendancy starts to totter.  These thinkers tend to be "esoteric" in the Straussian sense.  They are careful not to offend the educated ruling class, but anyone can take their ideas and apply them directly at the cruelty and injustice of the liberal welfare state.  

Meanwhile we have the conservative movements of resistance.  The notion of "resistance" is another left-wing concept, usually applied to their favorite victims and as often as not used to describe movements that are not movements at all but AstroTurf rent-a-mobs organized by community organizers.  The other day I wrote quickly about three conservative movements of resistance: the pro-life movement, the Second Amendment movement, and the Tea Party.  You will notice that these are all movements that are actively scorned and marginalized by our liberal friends.

But there are other movements of resistance.  There is the home-school movement.  There is the anti-global-warming movement.  What do these movements have in common?  They are all focused in different ways on resisting the centralizing power of the educated ruling class.

A friend once asked why Americans were anti-intellectual.  The answer is that Americans dislike the power of the intellectual ruling class.  They understand that the the intellectual ruling class is a force opposed to them and their way of life.  So they know they must fight it.  Nothing personal, of course..

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