TGIF: VDH optimism and Krauthammer eviscerates the liberal crutch. Who could ask for more?

Light blogging ahead: my in-laws will be here in a week and the rest of the boxes must be unpacked.  Books and papers are the bane of moving.  Twitter feed and google reader will be updated, but posts might be a little skimpy.  Apologies.  It’s funny how life happens, no?

Optimism from VDH who argues that “Decline is a choice.”  He writes:

As the summer winds down, there is more and more talk of decline in the air. Some of it comes from the left, as a sort of giddy notion that we are now, at best, devolving into what the Greeks called prôtos metaksu isôn, first among equals, enjoying traditional prestige but otherwise nothing much special in comparison to the Europeans, India, and China.

In the age of Obama, the notion of not being exceptional or preeminent comes as a relief to millions on the left who pretty much are in sync with the protocols of the United Nations. On the right, there is a sense that Obama is the ultimate expression of downfall; given the wild spending, the iconic efforts abroad at apology, and the rampant entitlements we simply aren’t what we once were. In between, most aren’t quite sure—but sure are worried that we may never climb out of our self-created indebtedness crater, and that the culture’s education, the nation’s borders, and the civilization’s values are eroding.

I agree with the latter take, but see decline in history as largely psychological. After all, a Rome that was little more than 4 million and half of Italy almost simultaneously fought both Hannibal and Philip V and ploughed on after losing over 100,000 dead between 219-216 BC to victory, while by AD 450-80 an empire of 70 million, with a million square miles of territory, could not thwart thuggish tribes across the Rhine and Danube.

A very poor United States in 1941 defeated imperial Japan and helped to defeat Nazi Germany in less than four years. A few hundred thousand immigrants between 1870 and 1960 took a godforsaken desert in California’s central valley and turned it into an oasis of agriculture, for nearly half a century with no more than muscle and mule power.

He goes on to point out our exceptionalism in every field–well, sans the arts which have succumbed to race/class/gender orthodoxy.  And he’s right.  Read it, smile, and know that as we recovered from Jimmy Carter, we will recover from Obama.

(As an aside, did Carter have fans who still wore campaign t-shirts?  I was too young.  And I still see women decked out in their Obama paraphenlia snatching up magazines on which he graces the cover.)

Charles Krauthammer examines the liberal tendency to cry “Racist rube! Bitter clinger! Idiot!” which he refers to as the “last refuge of a liberal.”  He writes:

Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the “bitter” people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging “to guns or religion or” — this part is less remembered — “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

That’s a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

The great unwashed don’t want a Ground Zero Mosque, fail to see the brilliance of a judge who decides two men can marry, and feel the borders should be protected.  Rubes, all.  Too bad those rubes can vote, eh? Read it.

Boxes call!

 

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