With the Republican party leaderless and in backbiting disarray following its destruction by the ideologically incoherent George W. Bush, Democrats are apparently eager to join the hara-kiri brigade. What looked like smooth coasting to the 2010 election has now become a nail-biter. Both major parties have become a rats’ nest of hypocrisy and incompetence. That, combined with our stratospheric, near-criminal indebtedness to China (which could destroy the dollar overnight), should raise signal flags. Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?
I don’t think I could have said it better. In fact, I know that I could not and that is why I toil away in obscurity in the back woods of blogdom while Camile Paglia has a broad expansive readership, a nice salary, and folks like me quoting her words rather than the other way around. She’s not exactly a flaming conservative; indeed she fits more neatly in the libertarian camp but manages to give people of all stripes the willies for her controversial and unconventional thinking. Maybe that’s why I like her.
Her analysis of the current state of the Democratic Party is spot on and she identifies a trend that while uncomfortable, is unmistakably true:
liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration’s outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable “casual conversations” to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it.
As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a “death panel” under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin’s shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate’s unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.
Fealty to the overweening power of centralized government has been the single largest contributor to my own departure from the ranks of the Democratic Party. Particularly as a Black man I have watched for fifty years Black voters give their political allegiance almost unquestioningly to the party of FDR and Kennedy because the Democrats promised (and delivered) large scale federal intervention in the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. This loyalty is understandable, if a little misguided.
There was a time when questions of local control and states rights were political games played by Democrats to maintain the status quo of racial oppression in place. The federal government was the friend of Blacks, and indeed the federal government is a force for positive good in promoting the general welfare of all citizens regardless of where they live or the colour of their skin.
However as the government has grown its power, so it it has extended its control. It seems strange to congressmen that they are confronted by constituents demanding answers. It seems unthinkable to media personalities that outrage could be anything other than manufactured. What many of Black brothers and sisters do not want to see is that they have the most to lose in this struggle.
As we’ve grown government, Blacks have continued to sit at the bottom of the economic ladder. We are no longer at the back of the bus; we’re the only ones still riding it. Our unemployment numbers ride higher than any other group. Our kids suffer disproportionately from the failing school system. Those who manage to escape and make it to college often don’t finish. We commit more crimes, are the victims of more crimes, have worse health statistics, and far too many broken families with single mommas struggling to make ends meet. And all the while, “the man” is blamed, welfare is ladled out with great regularity, affirmative action programs churn on and on, and Democrats get our votes.
I have news for folks: its the liberalism people!!
Leftist liberalism stifles the natural conservative impulses that have served to make any civilization great. Millions of folks move to the US, some coming from situations of extreme poverty and political oppression and yet manage to claw their way up the ladder to success. They marry and stay married. They scrape and save to send the kids to the best school possible and then make them study. They put the fear of G-d in them if they veer from the straight and narrow. They open businesses and work their tired fingers to the bone and live on beans and rice until they can do better.
Just like Black people were doing before liberalism killed the Black community.
And now, 150 years after escaping the plantation promise of free health care, free food and free housing in exchange for no freedom, far too many are buying return tickets on the underground railroad.