The State of the Static Union (and Universalist Claptrap)
This week to an ever-diminishing audience President Obama outlined a pedestrian plan for the remainder of this year, amidst the usual hornswoggle of invited guests in the gallery and dubious daytime TV style anecdotal stories of their lives. More popular than ever is the wish that we could return to State of the Union messages being delivered on paper to Congress.
In the meantime my friend Ignatz, the genius Sultan Knish (Daniel Greenfield) and even Vladimir Putin offered up some sage observations which underscore the rot at the heart of the administration and his party and the likely consequences of their policies.
My online friend "Ignatz" recalled a decades old piece in the American Spectator where the author had posited the notion that corruption was an offshoot of statism and was a greater threat to the western world than some ideology.
As state power grows and it blankets us with impossible and unworkable regulations the people ignore the law more and more or find work arounds (works around?) or use outright bribery. Meanwhile the government continues cynically promulgating regulations it knows are unenforceable or are only to exact tribute and the lines between the executive and the legislative become blurred as they both have a stake in the corrupt regulatory state.
Eventually you've got what they have in Europe a corrupt fascistic blending of state and large corporations and a Faustian bargain between local government, the citizens and small business of wink, wink, nudge, nudge noncompliance and graft.
The whole thing takes on the look of some central African tribal state where the rule of law becomes a pro forma means of advancing the real, corrupt black market state, which is made to work in a manner of speaking, but only by means which cause stagnation and wealth destruction in a perpetual game of trading for the last piece of a largely static pie. There can be marginal growth and wealth creation here and there but it's sporadic, never secure and a tiny fraction of what we would have had with just a bit of sobriety and realization of what we're presently throwing away.
In an article titled "Progressives Without Progress" the author Sultan Knish (Daniel Greenfield) expanded on the theme. In rsponse to Barack and Michelle's constant refrain that we have to share the pie and redistribute it, Greenfield notes that people who call themselves "progressives" are hardly that. "Progress," he says "is the expansion of possibilities" and people like the Obamas are obsessed with scarcity.
They believe that we are about to run out of everything from energy to water to wealth and education and that like starving survivors on a lifeboat we have to redistribute everything.
The progressive outlook predates the notion of progress. Its ideal is a static society, sustainable in its material practices and so utterly moral in its social attributes that it becomes immune to change. It is founded on the intertwining of the material and the moral through the insistence that the scarcity of material things makes their redistribution mandatory by an activist moral elite.
There is nothing as reactionary as utopia and no group as reactionary as utopians. A perfect society is a place that is immune to change. The search for such a society is the quest for an absolute way of living. Both the quest and the way of living become as unchallengeable as any theological utopia founded not on bad economics and political parochialism, but on a deeply spiritual faith.
Once the left is successful, the country they control becomes backward in every respect -- culturally and technologically -- and the new "utopia sinks into its own progressive muck."
For anyone who has paid attention to recent world history, the Sultan's observations on the destructive nature of progressive thought ring utterly true. Creating more should be the goal of societies even if in the process the distribution may be unfair, but to the left the goal is different: redistributing goods in an "economic police state."
I remember traveling behind the Iron Curtain and observing the furnishings in the Ukrainian hotels, taken from the rich (with painted inventory numbers on the back) and growing ever more shabby as decades passed with no replacements in sight; the careful halving of paper napkins and coffee pots with lines drawn on them to assure no one got more or less than any other patron on the Adriatic Coast of Tito's Yugoslavia. (Those resorts, by the way, were conveniently located near the lovely villas of the apparatchiks who had beautiful roads to travel there from the capital. Ordinary citizens from elsewhere in the country would have had to make a difficult journey over almost impassable and poorly tended roads.) I recall state shops with cheesy goods and restaurants and bakeries where service was impossible and more time was spent inventorying each roll and pat of butter than in fulfilling their function of providing food to customers.
In sum -- and I hope I've induced you to read this article in its entirety -- Greenfield argues that at the heart of progressivism" is a deep fear of progress [and people]." In order to progress we need to fight progressivism.
If that well-considered and crafted piece were not enough work for one week, the Sultan penned yet another article that was pure genius in my eyes. The article is "The Universalist Holocaust" and in it Greenfield argues that faced with assault, a person or a nation can fight back or spin dreams of universal peace, and choosing the latter course leads to holocausts. His example is Israel and the contrast between those who defend it and those who hate its "nationalist" focus, but I think it applies to all peoples and places, including the U.S. right now where Obama's "universalist" impulses have led us to foreswear our allies and embrace our enemies.
Again, I urge you to read this fine piece which I can only excerpt. I think this country is infested by those he calls "universalists" and the popular culture and educational establishment seems to have been rotted out from the inside by these ninnies:
The Universalist lesson of the Holocaust is that we must all aspire to be good Germans because our governments, at least the non-progressive ones, are embryonic Third Reichs that are only one flag-waving leader away from opening concentration camps. The Universalists believe that the only way to stop another Holocaust is to destroy nationalism, patriotism and the modern state.
This is what they believed before the Holocaust. And it isn't the Holocaust that motivates them. The Holocaust has been hijacked and distorted as another teaching tool for the left. Its history is one where the Jews happen to stand in for Native Americans, African-Americans or any other victim group, but have no identity, motives or interests of their own. The dead Jews are empty symbols with no tangible claims on the past or on the future. They died to teach us to be better people.
And so the boys and girls, Jewish and non-Jewish, smash Jewish store windows and throw stones at Jewish soldiers out of a desire to be good Germans. Their method of avoiding a repetition of the Holocaust is to perpetuate it by persecuting Jews by being good Germans. If they manage to destroy Israel and all its Jews, then they'll be the best Germans of them all.
This Universalist doctrine does not mention the English boys, who were being good Germans before the time when those words meant anything, by gathering at anti-war rallies. It does not mention the leftist intellectuals who insisted that the Allies were no better than the Nazis or the Communist Universalists of the Soviet Union who allied with Nazi Germany.
The debate over Israel is only one of many such fights between Universalists and Nationalists of every creed and from every nation. It is a struggle between those who believe that nations, religions and cultures have innate worth, and those who believe that they are obstacles to the great jello bowl of togetherness.
The Nazi Holocaust failed, but the Universalist Holocaust is still ongoing. Every time a leftist gets up to denounce Israel and to look forward to the day when it disappears, the Universalist Holocaust grinds on. And they have no shortage of Jewish assistants who are eager to complete the task, believing that a humanitarian utopia waits on the other side of the gas chamber door.
The Jewish Universalists lost faith in G-d, but they did not lose faith in humanity. They still believe with all their hearts that if they strum the guitar loud enough and sing, "Imagine", that a better world will appear behind that door. Disbelieving in history, they have forgotten that the last time that door was opened in Russia, there was barbed wire and bitter cold on the other side.
Speaking of God, it almost passed unnoticed, but at the moment it appears that Vladimir Putin is a better and stauncher defender of Western Civilization, and its Judeo-Christian roots, than any Western leader of whom I am aware. Watch this video and see what I mean:
Did you ever imagine you would hear the leader of Russia utter these words?
The Moral Code of the Builder of Communism, if you read it, is just a pathetic copy of the Bible: Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. The Code of the Builder of Communism has the same commandments, just that they are written in a simple language shortened drastically. This code has passed on, it does not exist any more. A new generation of Russian citizens, young people don't even know what it is. But the only thing that can replace it is those traditional values that you mentioned. Society falls apart without these values. Clearly, we must come back to them, understand their importance and move forward on the basis of these values. I want to reiterate something I said in the Address to the Federal Assembly: yes, this is a conservative approach, but let me remind you of Berdyaev's words that the point of conservatism is not that it obstructs movement forward and upward, but that it prevents the movement backward and downward. That, in my opinion, is a very good formula, and it is the formula that I propose. There's nothing unusual for us here. Russia is a country with a very profound ancient culture, and if we want to feel strong and grow with confidence, we must draw on this culture and these traditions, and not just focus on the future.
When will we hear words like that in the West?