I Don't Like Living in Interesting Times

One of my favorite quotes is the coward Falstaff cringing to Prince Hal before the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.

I would ‘twere bedtime, Hal, and all well.

If you are a conservative or dissident rightist -- or any kind of person, left or right -- I defy you to say that you never wish for the cold civil war to be over, and all well.

But the fact is that almost nothing in this world gets decided peacefully by an open and frank discussion of the issues. Reality may be objective, but our theories about reality are faith, and often enough we want to decide questions of faith by force.

Put it this way. Baby-boomers like me like to sneer at the folly of politicians in the 1930s that failed to stop Hitler until it was too late. What a bunch of losers!

But ask yourself: what would it have taken for the Baldwins and the Chamberlains and the Daladiers to leave go of their comfortable theories of disarmament treaties and collective security before it was too late?

Now ask yourself what it would take for liberals to leave go of their comfortable theories about diversity and institutional racism and stop their mad race-based university admissions culture before it’s too late?

This week the New York Times ran a chin-stroker article about the fact that black and Hispanic university admissions have failed to rise at all since 1980. Raaacism!

But David French at NRO notes a curious correlation. The current racial stats on college admissions by race happen to correlate with marriage.

The cohort that’s most overrepresented in American colleges and universities, Asian Americans, also happens to have the lowest percentage of nonmarital births in the United States.

Here are the birth stats of children born to married parents: Asian Americans: 83.4%; Whites: 79.8%; Hispanic: 37%; Blacks: 29.4%.

Correlation is not causation, say the philosophers, but what do you think?

Last week I had a little fun with a new book by Mark Lilla, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, reviewed by William Voegeli. Here is the key article of Lilla’s liberal faith:

Effecting beneficial changes requires wielding power, [Lilla] argues, and in democracies, securing power means winning elections.

You mean like implementing Affirmative Action and Diversity programs to effect beneficial changes in university admissions?

Or welfare programs that disconnect poor children from their fathers? Or government education that subjects children to life-tenured government schoolteachers?

But what if wielding political power has nothing to do with the case?

Could it possibly be that the key to university admissions is not Affirmative Action but the marriage culture? Could it be that the answer to education is not more government programs but married Tiger Mothers who care about their children? In that case, of course, beneficial changes will have nothing to do with politicians wielding power. It might even make things worse.

Could it be that the answer to our problems would be a new ascendancy of the bourgeoisie? As Glenn Reynolds writes:

When the middle class was ascendant, it had the power to force bourgeois norms on elites, and every many of the poor.

A bourgeois ascendancy would once more privilege following the rules, going to work, and obeying the law. Imagine where that might lead, on the bathroom front.

My point is that liberals are not going to cry “Uncle” on any of their wonderful programs to effect beneficial changes and not coincidentally enjoy the wielding of political power. Not this year, not next year. Not until utter ruin is staring them in the face.

And maybe not even then. See: Maduro, Nicolas; Venezuela, president of.

I admit that I am like Falstaff. I would like this whole cold civil war decided by bedtime. I really don’t want to be in a culture war between the creatives and the normals. Why can’t we all just get along?

The answer is pretty obvious. Our liberal friends won’t stop wielding political power until it is taken out of their cold dead hands, or at least until half the liberals retreat into their safe spaces with post-election stress disorder after President Pence gets elected in 2024.

Margaret Thatcher told us that “the trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” But she was wrong.

What really happens when you run out of other people’s money is that you blame saboteurs and wreckers for the mess. Oh dear, how 20th century of me. These days you blame raaacists.

The trouble with Socialism is that even after you run out of other people’s money you still refuse to look reality in the face, so long as you have a Deep State to do your dirty work for you and un-mask the opposition’s phone calls.

Sorry Falstaff. No bed-time for you.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

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