Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Say You Want a Revolution, Part 2

 

Here’s what this post, and last week’s post are about: The cultural changes in the media that Ricochet readers don’t like didn’t happen by pure accident. They took decades. We propose equally patient, persistent, but ruthlessly effective efforts to push culture in another direction over the next 20-plus years. We are chewing over how to create or capture a big chunk of tomorrow’s media and the arts. It’s a myth that nothing can be done about the entertainment business. Success is Hollywood’s definitive history teacher.

@drewinwisconsin raises a tough point. He said, “So that’s probably why it’s important to try to change or break the current system rather than try to build an equivalent system that will have no users. Consider how much power and scope Google+ had, and it still couldn’t survive against Facebook. And that’s Google — already a malignant influence.”

@sabrdance asks, “What do we mean by a believable path to get there?”

I mean believable in real world terms. A Jonathan Edwards-style Great Awakening would obviously make all of this tactical maneuvering about the mere media moot. Let’s assume that won’t happen and we end up having to do this ourselves.

My distinguished colleague @Barfly asks: “I’m looking for a characterization of the state we’re aiming for. Society is trying to digest a major transformational technology, the educational system has been broken by affluence and tolerance, of all things, and the barbarians are at the gates armed with all of the above. We can’t expect any of these things to work out in our favor unless we know where we want to go. You must have some vision of where those six or sixty things lead – is that coming in the next installment?”

Here we are, now you be the judge. We’re facing a composite force with a dozen power centers. Among many other tasks, we first need to capture one or more of them or build its equal from scratch. We’ll get around to discussing both.

What’s a Long Game to capture a mindshare of Hollywood? Create something like the Sundance Institute and duplicate their success at making it the arbiter of what’s new and valuable. Like Sundance, win the credibility and the authority to hold screenings and festivals, to present awards and honors to praise the good and shame the bad. Hollywood is particularly susceptible to this. Sprinkle our “graduates” and allies widely through the industry, like raisins in raisin bread. Do you want to make heads explode? Let either the First Lady or Ivanka take a leadership role. Hire young women to make programs and announce a continuing scholarship and apprenticeship program, ours.

In the late Eighties and early Nineties, the street locations and bare breasts of underground movies turned into something more respectable called independent cinema, and people criticized Sundance for showing and promoting films that were, they sniffed, insufficiently political. Sundance said, accurately, that they were dedicated to pushing change through the choices of what they decided to show. When that was deemed not enough, Sundance has also bankrolled some independent films that leaned forward—that is, leaned farther Left–becoming in effect a competitor of their own partners. Like Android’s regular endorsement of a Nexus-quality mobile phone, rotated through the major manufacturers, the Sundance label on an “indie” is a trusted mark of quality. They don’t have to make all the radical films, just the key ones. Smart.

How would our first generation of film projects begin? Make an early (but affordable) splash to announce you’ve arrived on the scene. There’s only, oh, about a hundred ways to respond to the bizzaroid cultural atmosphere of our times. One suggestion: we constantly see efforts to honor women in history/herstory. Fine; great idea. Do our version, because nobody thinks we’d be interested in this. Elevate forgotten, politically unconventional female intellectuals like Clare Booth Luce and Dixy Lee Ray, as well as living writers like Liz Trotta and Amity Shlaes, and make an inexpensive bio series for streaming, to inspire girls and give them different role models than today’s dull lineup.

We can and should learn our Machiavellian lessons from how the other guys did it. Face it, they were good at it; look around you. For roughly sixty years, the culture of the media calls itself progressive, however broadly defined. No one central authority set that in motion, but over the decades, time and time again, lots of helpers stepped in to change movies and TV. It didn’t happen overnight. That change ebbed and flowed. Like King Canute, we can’t command tidal forces, but like good civil engineers, we can put them to work. Turn the tide in our direction.

As in politics, the progressive surge of Hollywood’s do-your-own-thing Sixties ran aground in the stagnating, crime-plagued Seventies. A couple of major hits can shape the attitudes and moods of a decade—think of the three years that took us from “The French Connection” to “The Godfather” to “Death Wish”.

Break that down for a moment, because it shows a persistent Hollywood weakness, a tendency towards unanticipated outcomes that resembles Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. “The French Connection” was rare in 1971 for declaring “The time is right for an out-and-out thriller”. It was a trend-setter. Cop movies took the place that westerns once had on the American screen; one bold, unappreciated real man up against smug, lawyer-sanctioned lawlessness. In other words, for all its vague gestures towards the supposed futility of the war against heroin, it had an objectively conservative effect on its audience. The filmmakers didn’t mind, but they were surprised.

“The Godfather” was supposed to be based on one central idea: crime and capitalism are deeply intertwined. Comparisons between the civilian authorities and the mob are always dismissive. Mario Puzo was angry at Francis Coppola for dropping what Puzo considered the single indispensable line in the novel: “A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns”. Actually, this pseudo-Marxist quip has, I have to admit, spread across the aisle. It’s not without a point. But “Godfather’s” unprecedented success wasn’t based on its acute critique of capitalist ethics and the Mafia in Cuba, but in an unexpected emotional reaction: they loved the idea of a Godfather, because in a time when the cities had become dangerous, he was a protector, the dispenser of instant, final street justice. The biggest of criminals was a welcome force against random crime, the most widely despised feature of the era. “Dirty Harry” all but gave up on due process. “Death Wish” took it farther.

Lasting change must be persistent. The Sixties wave stalled and actually reversed by the dawn of the Eighties. What made 1977’s “Star Wars” so different, a turning point for stunned Hollywood, was optimism, faith, and fun. That can and does happen. It can happen again. Think of Pixar’s hits over the past quarter century. Could you imagine, for example, animation and storytelling of Pixar’s quality, but guided by a creative team from the Babylon Bee? I could.

Google wasn’t built in a day. Suppose that when Rupert Murdoch bought Fox, he not only created a different kind of news channel but a different kind of movie studio. Suppose he teamed up with fellow conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, who created Walden Media to produce the Narnia films. Suppose they realized they needed tech in depth to create and own streaming platforms. The biggest and most durable computer trade show of the era was owned by conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson. None of these team-ups happened. But none of it was impossible; if they’d done it, none of it could have been blocked by other media players. And if Rupe, Phil, and Shelly had figured out how to make money at it, which those three guys were rather good at doing, everyone else in Hollywood would have been aware of the development potential of all that empty real estate they’ve left fallow in the center and on the right.

That’s one of the self-limiting factors of my suggestions: If we’re right about what the public really wants, everybody will slowly, reluctantly, grudgingly compete with us. I couldn’t be more pleased at that prospect. In a century of fascism and communism, Hollywood stands proud for what the town has always believed in: plagiarism.

Of course, plutocratic bosses willing to take a chance can only carry a social movement so far. Ambitious writers who see daylight between the pillars of today’s deadening culture are obviously crucial. Form some embryonic institutions that will staff and guide the project. We already have a few, so start by supporting and enhancing them. We’ll need a farm team, its talent discovered and promoted by a media-based tribute to the success of The Federalist Society, with an unbending vision. It should be led by younger people because they’re going to have to maintain that focus, energy, and clarity of goals for more than a generation.

When you read the words “international cinema”, many of your eyes glaze over. They shouldn’t. Filmmakers, liberal or conservative, like to see sympathetic new artists, and being the gatekeepers of foreign films and TV can have an influence on tomorrow’s directors and writers greatly in excess of their effect on today’s audiences. Conservatives, and social conservatives especially, should be watching the principled defense of traditional culture in central, southern and eastern Europe. Here’s one unorthodox suggestion of a possible center of cultural resistance to today’s culture: Orthodoxy. Many of the film and TV artists of eastern and southern Europe still act in confidence that they’re part of a valid, powerful way of seeing the world.

Naturally, I’m more familiar with my own guys in places like Ireland, Poland, and Lithuania, and they too bring topics into serious films that you’d never see in American ones. But at this moment Catholic culture is crippled; I wish I could say otherwise. The posts of @skipsul make a superb case that Orthodoxy, however it compares to your denomination or religion, is one of today’s most coherent cultural forces and critics.

We’re working to promote real diversity of ideas, not merely a stale future of subsidized, institutionalized conservatism on screen. Yes, if done right our project would certainly lead to more conservative and centrist projects being considered acceptable. It might very well lead to fewer films being green-lighted purely because of their ability to insult your beliefs. But it’ll also lead to more projects that are interested in American history, pure entertainment, and yet informed by a non-PC point of view. “Back to the Future” was written by a conservative, “Apollo 13” and “Saving Private Ryan” by liberals. In 1985, 1995, and 1997, no one to my knowledge supported or rejected their insights based on those political facts. It was still possible to hold a conversation. It wasn’t yet an abyss. We don’t just need some room carved out for conservative politics in culture; we need some room carved out for no politics in culture.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 193 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  1. I Walton Member

    Some things, like movies, ideas, words, enjoy falling costs, there is no limit to how far they can sail. We watch movies made all over the world, read stories, novels, tweets from all over and all times all the time. We can’t change those economies and shouldn’t want to but they always threaten. We have to compete with them, make them better more enduring, more plentiful. They can teach good stuff or bad or just entertain more of less harmlessly. Other things face increasing costs and that impacts differently. As some things, cars, cloths, tv sets, medicine, expand they enjoy falling costs for a while as well and beat the competition because they’re new, better, cooler but they face cost and novelty limits and it’s easier for new stuff to beat them back or replace them when the time comes. We don’t want to interfere with these either because it just happens and it makes life interesting, richer, creates abundance. The problems come when either get captured and powerful folks from these sectors or the political sector always want to capture as much as they can and at some point they generally do, power centralizes, stagnates, and the dynamism dies. Real life which these things enrich or threaten, is different and the dynamism ends when we confuse ourselves about stuff, fun entertainment and real life. Real life doesn’t enjoy economies of scale, falling costs etc. It takes place locally in families and that core stability holds it all together and makes it endure. Our system was built before all this modern production and technology, but it got this central reality right. We’re losing it to a centralized abstraction where folks with abstract power removed by several layers of other abstract power attempt to replace, or make decisions for the infinitely diverse organic reality of folks and families. 

    • #1
    • July 3, 2019, at 4:59 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher

    Gary McVey: In a century of fascism and communism, Hollywood stands proud for what the town has always believed in—plagiarism.

    Oh, that’s a tee shirt!

    • #2
    • July 3, 2019, at 6:18 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. The Reticulator Member

    When C.S. Lewis was writing and talking about a closely related topic in the 40s and 50s, he said we didn’t need more people writing Christian books, but we need more Christians writing books. (That’s paraphrased from something I read long ago.) He of course did both.

     

    • #3
    • July 3, 2019, at 7:21 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  4. SkipSul Moderator

    Last year I went to a lecture series by Fr. Damick, and this is one of the talks he gave. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it for the last 12 months.

    https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/emmaus/a_renewing_ministry

    Damick here and elsewhere makes a key point – the culture of the US in particular, and the West in general, has shifted dramatically in the last 50 years especially. But so often the ways we talk about winning it back (or at least holding it together) are rooted in methods and battles fought and lost decades before. We’re very often like France in 1914 – all ready to re-fight 1870 and not recognizing that past the point. Damick here notes that so much of modern evangelism is still rooted in refighting the 1970s and 80s. 

    One of the challenges, Gary, that you have not addressed (and one that our friend @titustechera has in various ways) is that our culture itself is fragmented now (his recent review of the new season of Black Mirror is worth the reading on this, particularly pay attention to what he says about the death of celebrity). How many people actually watched Game of Thrones? To be sure the number was large, and will continue to be large through streaming for some time to come, but what is the percentage of the overall population that saw or will see it? The success of that show was based in it running (and running and running and re-running) for a decade. The things that can claim our attention are multiplying beyond our ability to clear our own backlogs, people are facing choice paralysis, and even when we try to specialize, to focus in on narrow interests, we still face more hours of video and audio, and more pages or blogs than we could possibly digest (my Ricochet alerts attest to my being largely absent for most of June, and I’m afraid most in there will be left unread).

    I think we’re not going to have another Star Wars opportunity, or a Godfather. And it’s not just because it would be competing for our very divided and stressed attention spans, but because gaining that sort of prominence today requires years of work to break out. GoT succeeded because its creators kept at it and understood the importance of story telling. The Marvel franchise likewise spent well over a decade in relentless work, world building, and story telling. Disney, by contrast, failed to understand this when they let JJ Abrams and others smash up the Star Wars universe, thinking that nostalgia would carry them through their horrible drivel.

    Marvel, GoT, and Star Wars (as currently constituted) give us better lessons in what we need to do (or avoid doing), and how to do it. That’s not to say that the successes of the 70s and 80s have no lessons for us, we just need to draw the right sorts of lessons. I would argue those are the following:

    1. Story Telling is key. A good story tells the truth, and tells it well. Bad stories are bad because they are, in various ways, lying, either to their audiences, or to themselves.
    2. Show, don’t tell. Ranting on Youtube will not shift the culture because you’re just speaking to your own people. If you have a good story, let it work itself out and don’t beat people over the head with a “message”. Your audience will know otherwise that you’re treating them like children.
    3. Do quality work, do it consistently, and do it relentlessly. There are no opportunities for Hail Mary passes here, or if there are, then they will be the sort that we won’t be able to predict.
    4. Remember that your audience is being manipulated into whatever the media outlets want you to watch, so relentless work needs to be paired with networking. This will be an uphill fight, but if your message rings true, and is told well, it will find its own way to spread.
    • #4
    • July 3, 2019, at 7:27 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  5. SkipSul Moderator

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When C.S. Lewis was writing and talking about a closely related topic in the 40s and 50s, he said we didn’t need more people writing Christian books, but we need more Christians writing books. (That’s paraphrased from something I read long ago.) He of course did both.

     

    A couple of weeks ago I went to a writers’ retreat for Orthodox Christians. One of the speakers was Nicholas Kotar (I reviewed one of his novels here back in May). He gave a key lecture on this this very subject. I highly highly recommend watching it.

    • #5
    • July 3, 2019, at 7:29 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. The Reticulator Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    • Story Telling is key. A good story tells the truth, and tells it well. Bad stories are bad because they are, in various ways, lying, either to their audiences, or to themselves.
    • Show, don’t tell. Ranting on Youtube will not shift the culture because you’re just speaking to your own people. If you have a good story, let it work itself out and don’t beat people over the head with a “message”. Your audience will know otherwise that you’re treating them like children.
    • Do quality work, do it consistently, and do it relentlessly. There are no opportunities for Hail Mary passes here, or if there are, then they will be the sort that we won’t be able to predict.
    • Remember that your audience is being manipulated into whatever the media outlets want you to watch, so relentless work needs to be paired with networking. This will be an uphill fight, but if your message rings true, and is told well, it will find its own way to spread.

    This is partly why some of the Russian films of the 70s and 80s are so good. The filmmakers had no opportunity to do a “message” that contradicted the party line about the Soviet political/economic/social system. But they could tell a good story, especially now that the older constraints of “socialist realism” were giving way to good stories about real life. And in a way, those stories contained subtle messages that were subversive of the old party line. They weren’t beating people over the head with a message, which would not have been allowed, anyway, but they were talking about realities of life that had not been talked about before, and were wildly popular. The Soviets liked the box office receipts a well as any capitalist funder. 

    • #6
    • July 3, 2019, at 7:52 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. MisterSirius Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    • Story Telling is key. A good story tells the truth, and tells it well. Bad stories are bad because they are, in various ways, lying, either to their audiences, or to themselves.
    • Show, don’t tell. Ranting on Youtube will not shift the culture because you’re just speaking to your own people. If you have a good story, let it work itself out and don’t beat people over the head with a “message”. Your audience will know otherwise that you’re treating them like children.
    • Do quality work, do it consistently, and do it relentlessly. There are no opportunities for Hail Mary passes here, or if there are, then they will be the sort that we won’t be able to predict.
    • Remember that your audience is being manipulated into whatever the media outlets want you to watch, so relentless work needs to be paired with networking. This will be an uphill fight, but if your message rings true, and is told well, it will find its own way to spread.

    This is partly why some of the Russian films of the 70s and 80s are so good. The filmmakers had no opportunity to do a “message” that contradicted the party line about the Soviet political/economic/social system. But they could tell a good story, especially now that the older constraints of “socialist realism” were giving way to good stories about real life. And in a way, those stories contained subtle messages that were subversive of the old party line. They weren’t beating people over the head with a message, which would not have been allowed, anyway, but they were talking about realities of life that had not been talked about before, and were wildly popular. The Soviets liked the box office receipts a well as any capitalist funder.

    Please name the Soviet films to which you refer. Thanks in advance!

    • #7
    • July 3, 2019, at 8:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. SkipSul Moderator

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    • Story Telling is key. A good story tells the truth, and tells it well. Bad stories are bad because they are, in various ways, lying, either to their audiences, or to themselves.
    • Show, don’t tell. Ranting on Youtube will not shift the culture because you’re just speaking to your own people. If you have a good story, let it work itself out and don’t beat people over the head with a “message”. Your audience will know otherwise that you’re treating them like children.
    • Do quality work, do it consistently, and do it relentlessly. There are no opportunities for Hail Mary passes here, or if there are, then they will be the sort that we won’t be able to predict.
    • Remember that your audience is being manipulated into whatever the media outlets want you to watch, so relentless work needs to be paired with networking. This will be an uphill fight, but if your message rings true, and is told well, it will find its own way to spread.

    This is partly why some of the Russian films of the 70s and 80s are so good. The filmmakers had no opportunity to do a “message” that contradicted the party line about the Soviet political/economic/social system. But they could tell a good story, especially now that the older constraints of “socialist realism” were giving way to good stories about real life. And in a way, those stories contained subtle messages that were subversive of the old party line. They weren’t beating people over the head with a message, which would not have been allowed, anyway, but they were talking about realities of life that had not been talked about before, and were wildly popular. The Soviets liked the box office receipts a well as any capitalist funder.

    That’s an area I’ve been wanting to get into, but time has been an enemy (I rarely am able to watch an entire movie one go). I did watch Andrei Rublev, though, and it is brilliant.

    • #8
    • July 3, 2019, at 8:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Gary, this is an interesting couple of posts. Thanks.

    Regarding causes of our decline, I doubt that we could pinpoint a single cause (except something as broad as “Satan”). I think that the breakdown of faith and family was the principal contributor. A portion of this was the result of public policy, including many SCOTUS decisions in areas such as the religion clauses (driving prayer and religious instruction out of the schools and largely out of public life) and family and sexual values (requiring contraception and abortion, prohibiting laws disfavoring illegitimacy, pro-feminist decisions, and more recent promotion of homosexuality).

    I don’t want to overstate the role of SCOTUS. There were many legislative changes as well, such as welfare (which was catastrophic for families and promoted illegitimacy) and new permissiveness in divorce laws (largely in the 1960s and 1970s).

    Many of these laws and policies were the application of what I call the “anti-discrimination principle.” This principle gained great credibility, rightly in my view, from the Civil Rights Movement and specifically from MLK’s leadership. But Pastor King’s dream was that people “would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The anti-discrimination principle morphed after his death, as the Left rejected the “content of their character” portion. Even much of the Right now rejects the “content of their character” portion, and seems to accept the idea that people must be treated the same, irrespective of their character or behavior.

    Gary, I think that you and I are going to disagree significantly about this. You seem to view the acceptance of the breakdown of traditional family and sexual morality in the 1970s-80s as a good thing. I agree that it happened, though it was largely confined to libertarians and secular conservatives. I think that it was unstable, a relatively brief moment on a slippery slope to the present mess.

    DrewInWisconsin made two insightful comments to your first post: (1) noting that, back in the day, “Conservatives were joyless scolds,” and (2) positing that “good ol’ fashioned teenage rebellion” might be the solution. I agree with the perception about “joyless scolds,” but frankly, “teenage rebellion” extended into middle age (and beyond) is, in my estimation, precisely what has landed us in this mess.

    No one likes being told what to do. This doesn’t mean that those advocating moral standards are wrong. They will inherently be viewed as “joyless scolds,” and as standing in opposition to liberty. Which is true.

    Much of the problem appears to be elevation of liberty over other important values.

    I think that the recent Ahmari-French divide illustrates the problem. Personally, I side with Ahmari. The Ahmari-French divide does not capture the entire issue, because French does not represent the libertarian/libertine impulse. French represents the portion of the traditionalists who want to impose “rules of engagement” on the debate that virtually ensure that the traditionalists will lose.

    • #9
    • July 3, 2019, at 8:31 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    DrewInWisconsin made two insightful comments to your first post: (1) noting that, back in the day, “Conservatives were joyless scolds,” and (2) positing that “good ol’ fashioned teenage rebellion” might be the solution. I agree with the perception about “joyless scolds,” but frankly, “teenage rebellion” extended into middle age (and beyond) is, in my estimation, precisely what has landed us in this mess.

    True. But there are growing signs that today’s teenagers are less willing to be brainwashed by the previous generation’s version of teenage rebellion. Which is to say, if the new teenage rebellion rebels in a conservative direction, I’m all for it.

    There is a lot of joy on the right these days. (Thank you, President Trump!) And there is a lot of scolding on the left. And like I said earlier, nobody likes a scold.

    Much of the problem appears to be elevation of liberty over other important values.

    I think that the recent Ahmari-French divide illustrates the problem. Personally, I side with Ahmari. The Ahmari-French divide does not capture the entire issue, because French does not represent the libertarian/libertine impulse. French represents the portion of the traditionalists who want to impose “rules of engagement” on the debate that virtually ensure that the traditionalists will lose.

    Ahmari’s notorious column may go down in history as one of the more misunderstood writings of 2019. It doesn’t need to be. It just requires people to engage with it on its own terms, and not through the lenses provided by either the left or the Frenchians.

    I never got the sense that he was against liberty, per se, only what unchecked liberty (as you say, the elevation of it over other values) ultimately leads to.

    One of the best movies of the last decade to illustrate that point (among other great points) was The LEGO Movie.

    • #10
    • July 3, 2019, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Gary, on solutions, I’m not optimistic about your suggestion that we form alternative institutions. You stated:

    Gary McVey: Create something like the Sundance Institute and duplicate their success at making it the arbiter of what’s new and valuable. Like Sundance, win the credibility and the authority to hold screenings and festivals, to present awards and honors to praise the good and shame the bad.

    Here’s a big problem. You and I (and Drew) are going to seriously disagree about what constitutes the “good” and the “bad.” If we’re talking about promoting traditional morality, we’re going to be talking about “joyless scolds.”

    If we’re not talking about promoting traditional morality, why would I be interested in joining any project to try to push back on the Left?

    I have a recent example, from Avengers Endgame. I recall one, and only one, scene in which the movie addresses the effect, on ordinary people, of the unbelievable catastrophe of the random death of half of humanity. Captain America is doing his noble part, leading some sort of support group in what appears to be a trashed High School gym. Who is the “everyman” character? A homosexual guy working on getting back together with his lover. Captain America — who is supposed to be from the 1940s, remember — is entirely compassionate and supportive. This character could have been, for example, a young father who lost his wife and one of his three children, and is suffering horribly. But no. The “everyman” with whom we are supposed to sympathize is a jilted sodomite whose lover survived the Thanos finger-snap.

    Gary, I know that we disagree on this issue, which is why I raise it. I’m not trying to be inflammatory. I’m trying to identify the real problem, and grapple with the difficulty of how we might work together against the Left.

    I think that serious disagreement among conservatives, like our disagreement about sodomy, is much of the problem. You seem to object to some of the positions of the modern, radical Left. You want to do something about it, in cooperation with me and our fellow conservatives. But, from my perspective, you also seem to agree with the Left on many other issues which I perceive to be part and parcel of the same underlying Leftist ideology.

    It’s hard to band together to build a railroad to the Promised Land, when we don’t agree about what constitutes the Promised Land.

    Again, sorry to be disagreeable, Gary. I appreciate your insights and desire to do something. I hope that you, or others, may have some answers to my concerns and skepticism.

    • #11
    • July 3, 2019, at 9:03 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. The Reticulator Member

    MisterSirius (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    • Story Telling is key. A good story tells the truth, and tells it well. Bad stories are bad because they are, in various ways, lying, either to their audiences, or to themselves.
    • Show, don’t tell. Ranting on Youtube will not shift the culture because you’re just speaking to your own people. If you have a good story, let it work itself out and don’t beat people over the head with a “message”. Your audience will know otherwise that you’re treating them like children.
    • Do quality work, do it consistently, and do it relentlessly. There are no opportunities for Hail Mary passes here, or if there are, then they will be the sort that we won’t be able to predict.
    • Remember that your audience is being manipulated into whatever the media outlets want you to watch, so relentless work needs to be paired with networking. This will be an uphill fight, but if your message rings true, and is told well, it will find its own way to spread.

    This is partly why some of the Russian films of the 70s and 80s are so good. The filmmakers had no opportunity to do a “message” that contradicted the party line about the Soviet political/economic/social system. But they could tell a good story, especially now that the older constraints of “socialist realism” were giving way to good stories about real life. And in a way, those stories contained subtle messages that were subversive of the old party line. They weren’t beating people over the head with a message, which would not have been allowed, anyway, but they were talking about realities of life that had not been talked about before, and were wildly popular. The Soviets liked the box office receipts a well as any capitalist funder.

    Please name the Soviet films to which you refer. Thanks in advance!

    Three directors that come quickly to mind are Eldar Ryazanov, Mark Zacharov, and Georgiy Daneliya. (I see that Daneliya died in April at age 88; I had not known he had left us.) 

    Ryazanov: You can see him pushing the envelope further and further with successive films, starting already in the 50s shortly after Stalin died, and then losing his creative energies after the Soviet empire fell. Here are some of the standard works for which English subtitles exist (although are getting harder to find). I’m giving the Russian titles in Cyrillic, too, because that sometimes can be an aid in searching for them. The English translations of the titles can vary:

    1975 The Irony of Fate (Ирония судьбы или с легким паром!) — Americans with Russian spouses sometimes have to humor them for their ritual of watching this one every last New Year’s holiday.

    1977 Office Romance (Служебный роман) – The love story is not so great, IMO, but the depiction of life at a Soviet statistical bureau is wonderful.

    1982 Railway Station for Two (Вокзал для двоих) — There is more Adam Smith tucked away in a corner of this one than you’re likely to find in any American film, but that’s far from the main theme.

    1987 Forgotten Melody for a Flute (Забытая мелодия для флейты) – I like this one a lot but some Russian film fans find it rather meh. By 1987 Ryazanov’s messaging had gotten more overt. But it’s still a good story.

    Zacharov:

    1978. An Ordinary Miracle (Обыкновенное чудо)

    1979. That Very Same Munchhausen (Тот самый Мюнхгаузен)

    1988. To Kill a Dragon (Убить дракона) – By 1988, Zacharov, too, was doing a more overt message.

    Daneliya:

    1975. Afonya (Афоня)

    1977. Mimino (Мимино) (1977)

    1979. Autumn Marathon (Осенний марафон) (1979)

    1986. Kin-dza-dza! (Кин-Дза-Дза!) (1986)

    Here is another one:

    Mikhail Kozakof’s 1982 film, The Pokrovsky Gate (Покровские ворота). Very allegorical if you’re looking at it that way, but most people enjoy it without looking for any political allegory.

    And here is a very unsubtle one just for you, because my best conversation about it was following a Lenten service at a Ukrainian Orthodox church. It doesn’t fit with any of the above: Tenghiz Abuladze’s 1987 film, Repentance ( მონანიება – in the spoken language, and Покаяние)

    And I really like Marlen Khutsiev’s films of the 1960s, but those didn’t exactly fly by the Soviet authorities without notice and criticism that made his career difficult.

     

     

    • #12
    • July 3, 2019, at 9:04 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    The LEGO Movie posits a world where there are stringent rules imposed from above. No deviating from “The Instructions.” The rebels are anarchists who do their own thing, man, but are ultimately powerless to effect change because they ghettoize themselves. In the end, the solution is to have rules, but within those rules allow as much freedom and creativity as possible.

    • #13
    • July 3, 2019, at 9:08 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. SkipSul Moderator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I think that the recent Ahmari-French divide illustrates the problem. Personally, I side with Ahmari. The Ahmari-French divide does not capture the entire issue, because French does not represent the libertarian/libertine impulse. French represents the portion of the traditionalists who want to impose “rules of engagement” on the debate that virtually ensure that the traditionalists will lose.

    I vehemently disagree with Ahmari / French being illustrative of the divide, and moreover I would argue that Ahmari’s attacks on French have been both deeply misguided in their target, and revealing of a militant mindset every bit as dangerous as the hard Left’s today. Ahmari cannot even seem to define exactly what he wants, much less how to get there, save by appeals to nostalgia (and you know the joke about nostalgia? The past ain’t what it used to be.).

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Much of the problem appears to be elevation of liberty over other important values.

    That’s what Ahmari claims (though he uses the word “autonomy” more), but he never makes a coherent case. And what he misses is that part of what is going on is an argument of what in heck Liberty even is, what it is not, and where it should be granted or withheld. The hard Left is fanatical about a certain definition of “liberty” that is crassly materialistic and hedonistic – liberty being the lack of want – “free stuff”- and lack of constraint on the cult of Self within a society that grows everything on magic beans. The Right has arguing about Liberty of conscience, and the Liberty to dispose of one’s own goods as one sees fit.

    Each competing vision, Left and Right, is in conflict, and each comes with its own sets of constraints and moral codes. Claiming that the “elevation of liberty over other important values” imposes a false choice because each vision for what liberty is depends entirely on the existence of those other values.

    Gary lays out how to fight a revolution, but notice something key: he’s not saying either what needs fighting, or what the end goal should be. He is also telling us what grounds have already been fought over and won or lost. He’s laying out tactics, but he’s not laying out where to go now. As I noted up above, we ought to be damned careful we’re not looking to fight the last war.

    • #14
    • July 3, 2019, at 9:11 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  15. SkipSul Moderator

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    True. But there are growing signs that today’s teenagers are less willing to be brainwashed by the previous generation’s version of teenage rebellion. Which is to say, if the new teenage rebellion rebels in a conservative direction, I’m all for it.

    • #15
    • July 3, 2019, at 9:26 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  16. Judge Mental Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    True. But there are growing signs that today’s teenagers are less willing to be brainwashed by the previous generation’s version of teenage rebellion. Which is to say, if the new teenage rebellion rebels in a conservative direction, I’m all for it.

    That’s not Dad, that’s Uncle Charlie.

    • #16
    • July 3, 2019, at 9:33 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  17. SkipSul Moderator

    Charlie CW Cook’s essay is absolutely apropos for this subject:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/07/08/the-post-liberals-incoherence/

    • #17
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I think that the recent Ahmari-French divide illustrates the problem. Personally, I side with Ahmari. The Ahmari-French divide does not capture the entire issue, because French does not represent the libertarian/libertine impulse. French represents the portion of the traditionalists who want to impose “rules of engagement” on the debate that virtually ensure that the traditionalists will lose.

    I vehemently disagree with Ahmari / French being illustrative of the divide, and moreover I would argue that Ahmari’s attacks on French have been both deeply misguided in their target, and revealing of a militant mindset every bit as dangerous as the hard Left’s today. Ahmari cannot even seem to define exactly what he wants, much less how to get there, save by appeals to nostalgia (and you know the joke about nostalgia? The past ain’t what it used to be.).

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Much of the problem appears to be elevation of liberty over other important values.

    That’s what Ahmari claims (though he uses the word “autonomy” more), but he never makes a coherent case. And what he misses is that part of what is going on is an argument of what in heck Liberty even is, what it is not, and where it should be granted or withheld. The hard Left is fanatical about a certain definition of “liberty” that is crassly materialistic and hedonistic – liberty being the lack of want – “free stuff”- and lack of constraint on the cult of Self within a society that grows everything on magic beans. The Right has arguing about Liberty of conscience, and the Liberty to dispose of one’s own goods as one sees fit.

    Each competing vision, Left and Right, is in conflict, and each comes with its own sets of constraints and moral codes. Claiming that the “elevation of liberty over other important values” imposes a false choice because each vision for what liberty is depends entirely on the existence of those other values.

    Gary lays out how to fight a revolution, but notice something key: he’s not saying either what needs fighting, or what the end goal should be. He is also telling us what grounds have already been fought over and won or lost. He’s laying out tactics, but he’s not laying out where to go now. As I noted up above, we ought to be damned careful we’re not looking to fight the last war.

    Skip, thanks.

    I’m going to need a bit more space to respond. [Continued]

     

    • #18
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:19 AM PST
    • Like
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    [Continued]

    Your response illustrates precisely the problem that makes it very difficult for us to unite. If we don’t share the same end goal, what precisely is it that would unite us?

    I don’t think that you or French can answer that question persuasively. I think that the answer is something like a vague appeal to liberty and legal/governmental process, which I think is mistaking means for ends. I think that this is Ahmari’s point.

    Ahmari seems to be advocating an approach that focuses principally on virtue, not liberty. You find this “a militant mindset every bit as dangerous as the hard Left’s today.” I think that French shares this view. I find this to be precisely the problem, and the illustration that Ahmari is correct.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding you. You seem to not only rule out victory in the culture war, but to consider the prospect of a traditionalist Conservative victory to be as bad as the prospect of a radical Leftist victory. 

    Am I incorrect about this?

    Skip, I’m not completely sure about your substantive views. I believe that French is a genuine social conservative of the Evangelical variety (as am I). I think that French and I share most of our opinions about substantive (as opposed to procedural) virtue. But both you and French seem to share the view that certain means are off-limits.

    I think that Ahmari’s point is that this is, effectively, the adoption of “rules of engagement” that ensure that our side will lose the substantive battle. I do not think that this is a wise approach.

    On a separate issue, I also disagree with you about the “last war” thing. The war is exactly the same. Good vs. evil, virtue vs. vice. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t really changed since the days of Abraham, or even Noah.

    • #19
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:19 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Duane Oyen Member

    ……..

    Google wasn’t built in a day. Suppose that when Rupert Murdoch bought Fox, he not only created a different kind of news channel but a different kind of movie studio. Suppose he teamed up with fellow conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, who created Walden Media to produce the Narnia films. Suppose they realized they needed tech in depth to create and own streaming platforms. The biggest and most durable computer trade show of the era was owned by conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson. None of these team-ups happened. But none of it was impossible; if they’d done it, none of it could have been blocked by other media players. And if Rupe, Phil, and Shelly had figured out how to make money at it, which those three guys were rather good at doing, everyone else in Hollywood would have been aware of the development potential of all that empty real estate they’ve left fallow in the center and on the right…….

     

    And, indeed, here is my 0wn pet peeve. While Ben leaves his ice cream to travel the country politicking, and Peter Lewis ignores prop-cas insurance to fund other ventures, conservative billionaires buy estates and yachts, or fund some building at a lefty university. Why don’t our people invest- seriously, not short term- in the long game? 

    • #20
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:23 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  21. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Sorry to be so long-winded. More re French and Ahmari:

    French, and other like-minded conservatives, claim the mantle of American tradition and the Founders, and I think that they are factually incorrect about this. The Founders were not all about liberty. They promoted virtue, at least as strongly as they promoted liberty, and imposed very significant social controls at the state and local level.

    There were two major transformations in the 20th Century. The New Deal heralded the nationalization of many powers previously reserved to the States. The “incorporation doctrine” of SCOTUS imposed serious limits on the ability of states and localities to legislate in the traditional “police power” area, generally described as public “health, safety, welfare, and morals.” The SCOTUS limitations were generally one-sided in favor of the Left. Thus, for example, it became impermissible to have prayer or religious instruction in public schools or to deny welfare payments to the mothers of illegitimate children, but it was permissible to mandate sex education to school children over parental objection or to require a landlord to rent to an unmarried or homosexual couple.

    For crying out loud, even a Christmas pageant at school, a Nativity scene in the town square, or a Ten Commandments monument in a courthouse are prohibited — while Gay Pride parades are widely promoted and school funding is used to promote the radical Leftist agenda (including homosexuality and black supremacism).

    So now we have the radical Left using broad national powers to impose their agenda, supported by the New Deal Court’s decisions. But when we try to do the same things, folks like French (and Jonah Goldberg, and Richard Epstein, all of whom I respect) say that this violates founding principles. Fine, I think that they’re right, but that’s a war that has been lost. About 80 years ago, for crying out loud.

    This is asymmetrical warfare. It is fighting with one hand tied behind our back. It is frustrating when important and respected voices on our side impose such unilateral constraints on us. It seems naive, and makes one question their desire to prevail.

    • #21
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  22. Miffed White Male Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Sorry to be so long-winded. More re French and Ahmari:

    French, and other like-minded conservatives, claim the mantle of American tradition and the Founders, and I think that they are factually incorrect about this. The Founders were not all about liberty. They promoted virtue, at least as strongly as they promoted liberty, and imposed very significant social controls at the state and local level.

    There were two major transformations in the 20th Century. The New Deal heralded the nationalization of many powers previously reserved to the States. The “incorporation doctrine” of SCOTUS imposed serious limits on the ability of states and localities to legislate in the traditional “police power” area, generally described as public “health, safety, welfare, and morals.” The SCOTUS limitations were generally one-sided in favor of the Left. Thus, for example, it became impermissible to have prayer or religious instruction in public schools or to deny welfare payments to the mothers of illegitimate children, but it was permissible to mandate sex education to school children over parental objection or to require a landlord to rent to an unmarried or homosexual couple.

    For crying out loud, even a Christmas pageant at school, a Nativity scene in the town square, or a Ten Commandments monument in a courthouse are prohibited — while Gay Pride parades are widely promoted and school funding is used to promote the radical Leftist agenda (including homosexuality and black supremacism).

    So now we have the radical Left using broad national powers to impose their agenda, supported by the New Deal Court’s decisions. But when we try to do the same things, folks like French (and Jonah Goldberg, and Richard Epstein, all of whom I respect) say that this violates founding principles. Fine, I think that they’re right, but that’s a war that has been lost. About 80 years ago, for crying out loud.

    This is asymmetrical warfare. It is fighting with one hand tied behind our back. It is frustrating when important and respected voices on our side impose such unilateral constraints on us. It seems naive, and makes one question their desire to prevail.

    We stopped expecting the deviants to conform to the greater society, and now expect society to conform to the deviants.

    Note: I’m not using “deviant” in the sexual sense here, just in the “tiny number of people who are different from the rest” sense.

     

     

    • #22
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:35 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. Titus Techera Contributor

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    On a separate issue, I also disagree with you about the “last war” thing. The war is exactly the same. Good vs. evil, virtue vs. vice. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t really changed since the days of Abraham, or even Noah.

    You must also remember that Noah, Abraham, Moses, & on down to Jesus, his Apostles, & various later theologians & politicians employed distinctly different strategies in accord with the circumstances.

    • #23
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:40 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  24. SkipSul Moderator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Your response illustrates precisely the problem that makes it very difficult for us to unite. If we don’t share the same end goal, what precisely is it that would unite us?

    I don’t think that you or French can answer that question persuasively.

    Because you are asking the wrong question. The presupposition that we must be completely united is definitionally totalitarian in the sense that you demand a unity of thought and purpose in all things and for all things – no dissent, no gray area allowed.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I think that the answer is something like a vague appeal to liberty and legal/governmental process, which I think is mistaking means for ends. I think that this is Ahmari’s point.

    And it is why Ahmari is dangerously mistaken. He thinks only in terms of the ends, as if there actually is an end. And end of what? The Constitution was never an end, it was a means. Human nature does not change – the Constitution was crafted by people who understood than Man is corrupt and self serving, so the laws provide channels for dealing with that. They do not eliminate it.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    You seem to not only rule out victory in the culture war, but to consider the prospect of a traditionalist Conservative victory to be as bad as the prospect of a radical Leftist victory. 

    And this is the crux. There is no victory, and if it’s “victory” you are seeking, then you’re agreeing with Ahmari’s authoritarianism. The battle over culture will never end because humanity with all its good and evil will never end. The quest for Victory! is what makes the Left so damned dangerous, and it would make the Right every bit the same. There are no victories in the culture wars of humanity – only ebbs and flows, and periods of relative stasis.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I think that Ahmari’s point is that this is, effectively, the adoption of “rules of engagement” that ensure that our side will lose the substantive battle. I do not think that this is a wise approach.

    I’ll quote Cooke, whom I linked up above:

    The second is to win the argument culturally so that such behavior is marginalized and disdained, even if it is not illegal.

    ​​Despite having no other solution, Ahmari disdains this final option, which he disparagingly calls “David Frenchism.” He is wrong to do so even on his own terms. Why? Well, because absent the establishment of a dictatorship, any non-cultural solution to what ails America will itself be reliant on the culture. Ultimately, in America, everything falls under democratic control — yes, even the Bill of Rights, which can be amended by a supermajority and which relies for its execution on judges who are chosen by the executive and legislative branches. And that democratic control is the product of our culture; if the culture is fallen, the democracy will be, too. Ahmari seems to imply that there is some way of taking over the government in order to fix the culture while that culture is the “enemy.”

    • #24
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:41 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Titus Techera Contributor

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Charlie CW Cook’s essay is absolutely apropos for this subject:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/07/08/the-post-liberals-incoherence/

    Mr. Cooke’s right that Mr. Ahmari has little to say that’s practical; & that there was no honor in his singling out Mr. French.

    But for the rest, my guess is Mr. Cooke is not only wrong, but will see it fairly soon. He’s already a man without a party, soon without a culture. Whereas the angry Christians do have a future, if as a minority. & they will be angrier & angrier at libertarians who are of no use, but are easier to humiliate than Lefties & liberals who have control of various institutions.

    I do not quite see how come libertarians do not understand their predicament & the need to choose one or the other of the emerging coalitions–perhaps they are as apolitical as they claim, if not in quite the way they think…

    Whatever the future, conservatism is primarily about & for Christians, who should be wise & generous enough to include a majority coalition in their designs, rhetoric, & public actions. I do not see anyone who sees this except some people like Mr. Ahmari.

    • #25
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  26. Titus Techera Contributor

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):my 0wn pet peeve… conservative billionaires buy estates and yachts, or fund some building at a lefty university. Why don’t our people invest- seriously, not short term- in the long game?

    This one’s easily answered: Conservatives in their institutions do not shame them into doing so. Money-makers aren’t particularly obsessed with culture, since it’s not what they do well or where they get rewards.

    • #26
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:47 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  27. SkipSul Moderator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    French, and other like-minded conservatives, claim the mantle of American tradition and the Founders, and I think that they are factually incorrect about this. The Founders were not all about liberty. They promoted virtue, at least as strongly as they promoted liberty, and imposed very significant social controls at the state and local level.

    Virtue? Which “virtue”? Depends on which founders you are relying on. Jefferson was an agrarian autarkist who considered commerce of any kind to be deeply UNvirtuous, so much so that he trashed the US economy for several years running.

    Imposed significant social controls? What exactly did they impose in the way of social control? Are you really suggesting we enshrine “social controls” in the law to force virtue? Good luck on that if you don’t have the backing of the people you wish to socially control.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So now we have the radical Left using broad national powers to impose their agenda, supported by the New Deal Court’s decisions. But when we try to do the same things, folks like French (and Jonah Goldberg, and Richard Epstein, all of whom I respect) say that this violates founding principles. Fine, I think that they’re right, but that’s a war that has been lost. About 80 years ago, for crying out loud.

    This is asymmetrical warfare. It is fighting with one hand tied behind our back. It is frustrating when important and respected voices on our side impose such unilateral constraints on us. It seems naive, and makes one question their desire to prevail.

    1.  You are very much mistaken in claiming that all movement here has been unilaterally Leftwards.
    2. If the problem on the Left is their contempt for our systems, and their repeated attempts at subversion, it seems you’re now on board with likewise junking the system. What then? What do you think will happen at that point? On what foundation would you be able to build a new system? If the old one was predicated, at least in part, on virtue, that would be cast out in favor of pure power.
    • #27
    • July 3, 2019, at 10:54 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):my 0wn pet peeve… conservative billionaires buy estates and yachts, or fund some building at a lefty university. Why don’t our people invest- seriously, not short term- in the long game?

    This one’s easily answered: Conservatives in their institutions do not shame them into doing so. Money-makers aren’t particularly obsessed with culture, since it’s not what they do well or where they get rewards.

    It’s also true that they live and move in a culture that isn’t particularly conservative. A Republican with a mansion in the Hamptons is a decidedly different sort of Republican, culturally, than a Republican with a two-bedroom house in Topeka.

    • #28
    • July 3, 2019, at 11:22 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  29. SkipSul Moderator

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Whatever the future, conservatism is primarily about & for Christians, who should be wise & generous enough to include a majority coalition in their designs, rhetoric, & public actions. I do not see anyone who sees this except some people like Mr. Ahmari.

    It seems to me that Ahmari is actually quite exclusionary in his vision. Why else would he be so keen to denounce those like David French, who has been actively fighting the culture wars on the front lines?

    • #29
    • July 3, 2019, at 11:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Skip, I appreciate your comments. It illustrates the problem, and the divide, which is real.

    I am surprised at the vociferous nature of your response. I haven’t even suggested any specific policy, but only made (or implied) a general desire to take a more pro-family and anti-sexual-immorality approach. You responded by stating:

    1.  Ahmari’s criticisms (with which I generally agreed) are “deeply misguided in their target.”
    2. Ahmari’s position (and mine) is “revealing of a militant mindset every bit as dangerous as the hard Left’s today.”
    3. My suggestion that we need a common purpose and goal is (mischaracterized, I think) as a “presupposition that we must be completely united” which “is definitionally totalitarian in the sense that you demand a unity of thought and purpose in all things and for all things – no dissent, no gray area allowed.”
    4. Ahmari “is dangerously mistaken” because “[h]e thinks only in terms of the ends, as if there actually is an end.”
    5. “There is no victory, and if it’s ‘victory’ you are seeking, then you’re agreeing with Ahmari’s authoritarianism.”

    Wow. Just wow.

    I want to have some political victories like, perhaps, reversing sodomite “marriage,” making divorce a bit more difficult, not paying welfare to the mothers of illegitimate children, or not recognizing paternal rights or responsibilities for a child outside of marriage. I’d like to see the schools able to teach Christianity, at least as a factual matter, just as they teach Greek mythology or even Islam (though they probably teach false propaganda about Islam).

    I think that most or all of this had bipartisan consensus as recently as the 1950s, and in the case of sodomy, through 2008.

    For this, you say that I’m basically as bad and dangerous as the hard left, a totalitarian, and an authoritarian. You even reject the idea that there is any “end,” which it seems to me rejects the very idea of there being virtue.

    This is the divide. Thank you for illustrating it.

    I want to address your citation to the Constitution, too, but will do so separately.

    • #30
    • July 3, 2019, at 11:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7