October 26, 2008
Don't Dis the Cities
The Philadelphia Daily News blasts McCain-Palin for repeatedly saying that rural America is the best America. It's an elitist view that overlooks the many negative societal problems that are worse in small towns than in urban America. Plus of course it's divisive, and kind of silly to argue that the great bulk of Americans (those who don't live in small towns) are somehow less representative of Americans than the minority of Americans who live in out in rural areas. That's some peculiar math.
Posted by armand at October 26, 2008 04:12 PM
| Posted to Politics
I say, let the theocratic minority keep dissing the people in the cities, the ones who comprise an effective majority of the country. (Are there any red states left with two-digit electoral vote totals?) It's the party's death knell, as Egan, among others, aptly observed today. And it's not conjecture: it's showing in the polls, and its foreseeable in the demographics.
Keep dissing the cities, keep speaking more offensively to more people on fewer, more extreme people's behalfs, and pretty soon philosophically marginal is going to become politically marginal, and not a second too soon.
The party alienates its Chris Buckleys and Colin Powells at its own peril; they are what little remains of its intellectual soul.
As to your parenthetical - I think most people would still consider Texas (34 votes) and Georgia (15 votes) to be "red" states.
This is nothing new. Urbanization has been seen as contributing to social decay for more than a century, it's why the quakers started incarcerating people as opposed to using punishments, to keep them away from cities' corrupting influences. It might be important to note that no utopian community has ever been run on a level greater than a small town. The more you get more people, the less agreement you'll have on more than a few core issues, and out of that comes social disorder, people who don't want their children raised with someone else's values, and moral relativism and nihilism follow.
It might be important to note that this is the federal system, one that says it's okay for Louisiana to have laws reflecting its culture and New York to have different laws that reflect its people's beliefs. And individual cities and towns have their own laws, all as an extension of individual liberty; if I don't like the laws in San Francisco, I can move to Omaha. Philosophically marginalizing small town America by saying they cling to religion and guns is philosophically marginalizing the significance of individual liberty and our American federalist system.
Ummm, Morris, no it's not - that's one more of your GIGANTIC leaps in logic.
And it's probably worth noting that Obama hasn't supported those comments, and has stepped back from them (at least as they are often interpreted), while McCain-Palin strides forward repeating their "this is the better America" rhetoric over and over again - celebrating their elitist and divisive opinion.
As to how multiple opinions leads straight to nihilism ... no idea.
And remember small town America is overrun by pool halls and rogues trying to sell trombones as protection against a threatening "other". It's not typically utopian. Both small towns and cities have flaws.
"The more you get more people, the less agreement you'll have on more than a few core issues, and out of that comes social disorder, people who don't want their children raised with someone else's values, and moral relativism and nihilism follow."
And therein lies the contradiction: even as you acknowledge fundamental pluralism and diversity, you support, as an answer to moral relativism, the foisting upon people of moral values derived from a particular religious history.
And just out of curiosity, are you suggesting that Louisiana should be free to shit on whatever civil right it chooses to, except perhaps that corresponding to the freedom of movement from state to state, because people can vote with their feet by uprooting their families and moving somewhere else? Really? Does that apply to free speech? Expression? Assembly? Equality of treatment over racial and gender lines?
Why don't you just cut the ruse, and espouse the Articles of Confederation.
Anyway, none of this is responsive to the comment about moderate Republicans feeling increasingly uncomfortable in the ever-shrinking tent of the Party Formerly Known as Republican, or the degree to which this foretells the party's doom. McCain was going to destroy the party even as he won the election from the center by seeking common ground with moderates. Instead, he veered off into fundagelical terrotiry, sought the favor of the party's most extreme elements, and look what that's done for him and the party. He would have done better had he stuck to the approach he urged in 2000, and we would have had a far more seemly, encompassing, and inclusive campaign. More the pity . . .
Fair enough, regarding the electoral totals, but of those only Texas approaches the biggest of the blue and purple states that house the lion's share of the population.
But everytime someone tells the people of some 4-electoral vote state that they, rather than the massive states at the perimter, are the real Americans, they should be forced to project and explain this map (and since things continue to tip blue, one ought to turn MO, SC, and IN blue, maybe AZ as well).
"As to how multiple opinions leads straight to nihilism ... no idea."
Actually, it's more accurate to say cultural relativism (as Obama calls it, a multicultural mosaic) leads to nihilism. If I get everybody in my neighborhood telling me about 50 ideas on what is to be valued in life, then I'll be tempted to doubt what's in my own gut. If I get everybody in my neighborhood telling me I should consider how to have consideration for bravery, care for others, citizenship, and rising above my own circumstances, but get 50 different ideas about how to go about doing that, then there's no nihilism because I know what's significant, I just have to find my own way to seek it.
And sure small town America has its flaws, just as big cities do, and they're often similar flaws. You're going to find corruption in small towns, you're going to find corruption in Chicago. But when a city or state is bound by similar ideas about what is right and what is wrong, the idea that one thing should be valued above another is not questioned, so the value of value (and the value of justice) is preserved.
If I come from Mexico to America and want to make America look just like Mexico, and somebody else comes from Bosnia or Iraq and wants to make American look just like their countries, that's not going to work on a national level. It could work regionally as with Pennsylvania Dutch communities, but it won't work nationally unless as a nation we agree on some basic things government is not to infringe upon, unless our Constitution is based on the negative liberties lamented by BO.
Only then is diversity preserved nationally, as a collection of individual states and cities with individual cultures. Only with negative liberties do we have actual liberties, because Barack's positive liberties are not liberties at all, they are mandates and entitlements given to all without regard for an individual's value for one thing over another. We're not going to have individualized health care where we pay for what we individually value, we're going to have equal health care, everyone getting as much and as good (and as little and as bad) as everyone else.
I don't hear moderate republicans complaining. I hear conservative republicans complaining, because McCain is as moderate a Republican as you can get without going to the Northeast. He's worked with Ted Kennedy, with Feingold, with Senators who put the donkey in Democrat. Everyone I respect is voting either for Palin or against Obama, or both. McCain is just a middle man, because he's stuck in the middle with you (Democrats).
"If I come from Mexico to America and want to make America look just like Mexico, and somebody else comes from Bosnia or Iraq and wants to make American look just like their countries, that's not going to work on a national level."
If I come from a democracy and try to turn it into a theocracy -- and really, Morris, explain to me how codifying Christian values is anything else -- then all I've vindicated is the right to vote . . . in those areas that aren't prescribed by my religion. In those areas, well, what's to vote about, right?
Funny, the Framers didn't say anything about that, and the espousers of strict construction are mum on the awkward contradictions between, on the one hand, this conspicuous silence and the first amendment) and, on the other, the attempt to supplant the bill of rights with the ten commandments.
And yet the right rails about nanny states.
What's left of the right, Morris? Is it small government (borrow and spend)? Is it private enterprise (socializing the banks)? Is it libertarianism (railing against the Court for having the audacity to say that gay sex shouldn't be criminal, and states should not be free to enact legislation discriminating against people for enjoying the consensual sex they prefer)? Go ahead, explain to me how any core principles McCain is stumping on is moderate (assuming you can get him to identify any principles that aren't hollow cliches)?
"What's left of the right, Morris?"
McCain is left of the right. He's going to borrow and spend, just not as much as Obama. He's for injecting government into the marketplace (he voted for the government to buy up home loans), just not as much as Obama. And despite your attempt to distract with another wedge issue, as Palin made clear they're not outlawing gay sex, they (like Joe and BO) just oppose defining marriage as anything other than between a woman and a man.
And what the hell are you talking about? How is saying the government should allow states and cities to run themselves according to their people's morals akin to codifying Christianity? Unless you believe all communities and states are Christian, that doesn't add up. Values like bravery, care for others, and rising above your circumstances aren't Christian values, they're human values. But I thank you. You made my point about the nihilism that descends from cultural relativism.
Read the research from Seligman and others, values including these are present in almost every human civilization. But the theocrats of cultural relativism teach American students that they're not, so then people act as though they're not, becoming miserable, then have to get on antidepressants because they can't figure out why they aren't able to f- over their neighbor, why they aren't able to be completely cowardly, and why they aren't able to be stuck on stupid, and feel okay with these things.
"How is saying the government should allow states and cities to run themselves according to their people's morals akin to codifying Christianity? Unless you believe all communities and states are Christian, that doesn't add up."
Actually, I think it's pretty clear that most states, the level at which the most intrusive and oppressive laws (anti-sodomy laws, for example) tend to be passed, are, in the aggregate Christian. They will vote accordingly, and we will face, the evidence from red states makes clear with endless laws passed in flagrant violation of the United States Constitution, precisely the tyranny of the majority our system was designed to resist.
Preaching that there are no fundamental rights to be free from institutionalized imposition of one religion's values, by, for example, demanding that publicly funded schools not parade theology before students as though it has any claim to science, and couching it in democracy, is espousing a democracy without rights to be free from government intrusion. I'm not intruding upon you when I decline to teach your children religion in the public schools; I'm saying that that's something that should occur in churches and in the home, because no children at a vulnerable age and in a receptive pedagogical framework should have an article of faith paraded before them as fact.
The right, however, draws no such distinction, and equates electoral might with right -- the right to foist upon another one's values, an impulse fraught with evangelism at its core. Most communities, the vast majority I daresay when, after suffering their own choice for a decade they're faced with their own pregnant 15-year-old daughters who desperately don't want to have a child, will vote to preserve, at a minimum, early term elective abortions. So will the right shut up about it once that happens? Not going to happen. The truth, of course, is that conservative politicians like that Roe survives -- it's a great stalking horse that saves them from having to explain why people should vote for trickle-down economics after a thirty-year legacy of failure.
"Values like bravery, care for others, and rising above your circumstances aren't Christian values . . . "
And not a single person here, or anyone I know, has a problem with any of this. We disagree how to go about it. Some of us just insist on calling people with other views un-American, socialist, what not, rather than having a meaningful debate, in the presence of clear evidence militating, in various ways, in favor of either side of the various debates embedded in the above. It's such supreme arrogance to pretend that, by using those words, one can claim a monopoly on what they mean or how best to attain them as a matter of personal conduct and government policy.
There's nothing nihilistic about saying that poverty can be ameliorated in other ways than with a stiff kick in the pants, especially when that kick, as it were, is all but invariably administered by people who don't know the first f*&king thing about not being sure whether they'll be able to feed their kids or afford their medication this week, even as they go to work loyally at the very bottom of a corporation paying the CEO $50M, where their sub-living wages don't even pace inflation. I'm not nihilistic, but your notion that the government, which is doing a hell of a lot better with Medicare, say, than GM is doing with making cars in the free market, even with regular infusions of government largess, can't possibly be a force of good for the underprivileged who the market doesn't care to pay more than it takes to ensure a stable non-insurrectionist work force (which, history proves, is far less than a humane wage) is fundamentally cynical, irreconcilable with reality, and frankly just silly.
"McCain is left of the right. He's going to borrow and spend, just not as much as Obama. He's for injecting government into the marketplace (he voted for the government to buy up home loans), just not as much as Obama. And despite your attempt to distract with another wedge issue, as Palin made clear they're not outlawing gay sex, they (like Joe and BO) just oppose defining marriage as anything other than between a woman and a man."
First, McCain will create more national debt than Obama. Second, what Republicans, or The Right, or whatever you want to call them, don't want government in the marketplace? They love government in the marketplace. Archer Daniels Midland, Blackwater, and paying higher prices to keep more shipyards in business (whose supposed entrepeneurs like Bollinger then fund Republican campaigns) leap out as obvious examples, but it goes waaaay broader than that. The Republicans love getting government in the market, just like the Democrats do - and for that matter Adam Smith did. Finally, how in the hell are they not in favor of outlawing gay sex? Are most national Republicans on board with saying Lawrence was rightly decided? If so, that's the first I've heard of it. And if not, they are in favor of outlawing gay sex (and a fair bit of what consenting heterosexuals do for that matter).