the US is just a corporation. It is not a mystic trust consigned to us by the generations. It is not the repository of our hopes and fears, the voice of conscience and the avenging sword of justice. It is just an big old company that holds a huge pile of assets, has no clear idea of what it's trying to do with them, and is thrashing around like a ten-gallon shark in a five-gallon bucket, red ink spouting from each of its bazillion gills.
...Surely, if anything ungood remains in the world, it can be vanquished by a gigantic, heavily armed mega-charity, with H-bombs, a flag, and 250 million serfs. In fact, it's actually rather astounding that, considering the prodigious endowments of this great philanthropic institution, it seems to do so little good.
...democracy is - as most writers before the 19th century agreed - an ineffective and destructive system of government. The concept of democracy without politics makes no sense at all, and as we've seen, politics and war are a continuum. Democratic politics is best understood as a sort of symbolic violence, like deciding who wins the battle by how many troops they brought.
I hope you can agree that the Harvard faculty in 2007 by and large believes in human equality, social justice, world peace and community leadership, that the faculty of the same institution held much the same beliefs in 1957, 1907, 1857 and 1807, and that in any of these years they would have described these views as the absolute cynosure of Christianity. Perhaps I am just naturally suspicious, but it strains my credulity slightly to believe that sometime in 1969, the very same beliefs were rederived from pure reason and universal ethics, whose concurrence with the New Testament is remarkable to say the least.
For example, if ultracalvinists are Christians, "political correctness" is religious orthodoxy. Hm, where have we seen this before? Perhaps in Massachusetts? I mean, is it any surprise that Ivy League schools are acting, in effect, as ultracalvinist seminaries? Isn't that exactly what they were founded as?
This idea of political ideology as religion resonates with me. At the conference on environmental stewardship for religious leaders, I tried to treat environmentalism in religious terms and religion in ecological terms. Think of Global Warmingism (GW) as competing in the same ecological niche as religion. GW has some powerful advantages, particularly in becoming a national religion. Traditional religions have natural predators, such as the ACLU. They are constrained by the common understanding of the First Amendment. GW does not have an effective opposition or any institutional constraints. Opponents of a traditional religion may speak freely without encountering disapproval. Opponents of GW are denounced. Traditional religions are held in contempt by science. GW bears a scientific imprimatur. Traditional religions must contend with a widespread suspicion of religion. GW has to overcome less inherent resistance.
One can argue that GW does have predators. The Evil Corporations are portrayed as battling GW. But Evil Corporations are readily bought off--all it takes is some pollution permits and ethanol subsidies to get them to shut up. GW has the potential to spread without inhibition, until it completely takes over the religious niche in the ecosytem.
I think the US is best interpreted as one country with two governments. We can call these the "red government" and the "blue government." Basically, as a very rough approximation, the red government is the military and the blue government is everything else.
By my count, Anglophone North America ex Canada is on its fifth legal regime. The First Republic was the Congressional regime, which illegally abolished the British colonial governments. The Second Republic was the Constitutional regime, which illegally abolished the Articles of Confederation. The Third Republic was the Unionist regime, which illegally abolished the principle of federalism. The Fourth Republic is the New Deal regime, which illegally abolished the principle of limited government.
...the US government is the 800-pound gorilla. It sits wherever it wants. But "it" is not one entity. It is, again, a network of competing power centers.
This is an important point. The U.S. government is not a single, authoritarian entity. It is a set of rules and organizations.
One of my main concerns is that I think the principal check that keeps the US from degenerating into actual violence is the 75-year-old informational dominance of "responsible" broadcast and newspaper journalism. This system is dying. It is being replaced by people like Amanda Marcotte and Michelle Malkin. And their followers, if not them personally, seem to have enough pure, 24-karat hate stored up for ten or fifteen really juicy civil wars.
This latter post has much more that I could have excerpted.
There is an old joke about a Rabbi who is asked to referee an argument. He listens to one side and says, "You're right." He listens to the other side and says, "You're right." A spectator says, "They cannot both be right. You are being completely illogical."
"You're right, too!" says the Rabbi.
I feel that way about the Democrats and the Republicans. When a Democrat tells me all of the horrible things that Republicans want to do, so that I cannot vote for them, I say "You're right." When a Republican tells me all the horrible things the Democrats want to do, so that I cannot vote for them, I say "You're right."
When someone says that one of the two parties is going to win, so I have to vote for one of them, I say, "You're right, too."