Dodging Dupree's Question
First, the question (actually, several related questions) Dupree asked -- by the way, have you noticed a certain growth in Dupree's own level of maturity since he moved in last year? -- anyway, the question (preceded by a comment) was:
"To the extent that you politicize problems that are existential, psychological, or spiritual, you are a member of 'the left.' How is your own life going in these here United States? Are things okay for you? If not, whose fault is it? What do you need to do to turn things around?"
Integralist's response -- wholly inadequate, even evasive, I might add -- was "you may be right that I am (overly) politicizing issues that are existential, spiritual, etc. But I am only of the 'Left' in relation to folks on this board; to some of my more leftist friends (and parents), I am more right. But, as my moniker says, I like to think that my worldview embraces both Right and Left."
As you can see, he began to answer the question, but does not seriously reflect on it before pleading "all my friends do it, and besides, it's all relative. I'm to the right of them and the left of you. Therefore I'm integral."
Integral or rudderless?
He continues: "As for my life, well that is a personal question!"
Yes, exactly. We are Raccoons. We have nothing to hide. What are you, and what are you hiding?
"It is a work in progress...why do you ask?"
I won't presume to speak for Dupree, but I think I can sense what he was driving at. He wants to know if Integralist has been able to make his own life fully functional before making sweeping judgments about how to solve other people's problems. Because, depending on how you achieve -- or fail to achieve -- your potential, there is a good chance that that is going to be your "recipe" for others. How can it be otherwise? One doesn't discover the key to the universe and not share it. To the contrary, everyone is full of advice on life and how to live it -- including the most clueless and dysfunctional people who have not come close to mastering their own impulses, let alone lives -- for example, the Hollywood nitwiteratti.
Integralist shares one last banality before ending with a rhetorical question: "I will say that as I have gotten older I have become more conservative (although still a raging bleedin' heart compared to most folks here! ;). So I understand the move from Leftism 'rightward' as a kind of maturation, but my own journey has been towards integralism, not the Right. But who knows what the future will bring?"
Spot the contradiction: 1) as I have gotten older I have become more conservative, 2) I understand the move from left to right as a kind of maturation, and 3) but my own journey has been towards integralism, not the Right.
Who knows what the future will bring? Why, Dear Leader does, of course. Obviously, if the same trajectory of maturity continues, Integralist will become, like us, more of a bleeding mind conservative but continue calling it "integralism." At least until he looks down at the ground upon which he is standing, and realizes he is in a new territory that is "against his religion" -- his real religion being leftism, not integralism. Religious conversions are very painful, and mine was no exception. Like virtually everyone of my generation, I had an extremely simplistic identification with liberalism that was about as sophisticated as "four legs good, two legs bad." Long after I began to realize that two legs weren't so bad after all, I still identified myself as a four legged. Then something finally "snapped," and that was it. I looked down at the ground upon which I was standing, and suddenly realized that it wasn't the same ground as Ted Kennedy, or Howard Dean, or Nancy Pelosi -- even though, by then, I was a continent away from them! Indeed, an entire cosmos away. It just took a long time to realize it and accept it.
It reminds me of a Jewish friend. As you know, Jews vote 90% Democrat, even though the Democratic party is no longer the repository of Jewish values -- indeed, it is now, along with academia, the main repository of anti-Semitism. I told him flat out: "You're not Jewish. You're just Democrat." For it was true. I think you'll find that almost all serious Jews are conservative. Its just that most Jews are not serious about their religion, but simply have the cultural identification. I know this because I married into a family of typical Jewish anti-Semites, bless their bleeding hearts.
But I digress. A recent poll by the AP shows the irrationalism behind the leftist critique of America. (By the way, if anyone should be aware of this, it is Jews, who have prospered in America like no other group. My father-in-law, for example, has had an extraordinarily successful and culturally rich life -- largely because he has Jewish values despite the absence of Jewish religion. What is his complaint? It is not a rational complaint, because in his case, it is simply derived from scripture -- scripture for him being the editorial pages of the New York Times. His life is fine -- better than fine -- but if the Times says this is the worst economy since the great depression, then it must be true. One is tempted to say: if gaps in income are such a terrible thing, just give some of yours away until you feel comfortable again. But please, don't ask the government to take mine away at the barrel of a gun!)
But I digress again. The AP poll shows the dramatic contrast between the personal satisfaction of the average American versus how they feel about the nation at large -- which, you might say, is the contrast between the ground under their feet and the false picture that is relentlessly pounded into us by our "two legs bad" MSMistry of Truth. The survey simply asked people how the year 2006 had been for them and their family. A remarkable 76% responded that it had been a good one. However, when asked the same question about the country, 58% saw the year in a negative light. How can this be? How to reconcile the contradiction? How does the personal 76% plunge to collective 42%? Again, partly it has to do with the unremitting negativity of the liberal media and its political action wing, the Democratic party.
It is a truism that if this were a Democratic administration the media would be ceaselessly touting the remarkable economic achievement of the past four years -- high employment, low inflation, soaring stock market, reduced taxes with record high government receipts, and a diminishing deficit which, in any event, is historically below average as a percentage of GNP. The percentage of Americans who own their own homes is at an all time high, and even the size of today's typical home is larger than ever. Leisure time -- a key component of Slack -- is at historically high levels, as is the percentage of household expenditures used to buy nonessential items (another key measure of Slack). "Poor" people today have things that were undreamt of even by the wealthy of just 30 years ago -- including this here internet. In a remarkable editorial in the WSJ, Brian Wesbury writes,
"In 1982, Time magazine’s Person of the Year was a machine -- the personal computer. Twenty-four years later, after being empowered by the computer, the 2006 Person of the year is -- 'You'.... The most interesting thing about this progression is that it did not result from consumer demand. Demand does not create wealth. Consumers were not marching in the streets 30 years ago complaining about the fact that there was no way to share their daily activities and innermost thoughts with thousands of their closest friends. People were not begging for personal computers, email, broadband, the Web, or blogs. Entrepreneurs, futurists, scientists and the very early adopters birthed this technology: Today’s average consumer was either clueless or still in diapers.
"Even though some of this technology existed in the 1970s, the economic environment of those times was not conducive to its rapid development or deployment. Tax rates were high and regulation was stifling. This held back innovation, creativity and productivity. To offset this malaise, many macroeconomists counted on the Fed to hold interest rates low by printing more money, which only stoked inflation. The resulting stagflation created a lousy environment for new inventions.
"In the early 1980s, tax rates were cut, government interference in the economy was reduced, and the Fed followed a tight money policy. As stagflation was cured, entrepreneurs got to work. In garages, basements and cinderblock buildings, today’s technology promptly came to life even before its full usefulness was understood. It took more than a decade for the Internet and email to become real consumer products. It was the supply of this technology that fueled its growth, not the demand for it."
Not the government, not leftists, not the relentlessly negative MSM, but the individual creativity of people who simply looked at the ground beneath them and took it from there. In 1980, if we had adopted leftist "solutions" to their perceived "problems" we would never have developed the remarkably innovative solutions to our problems -- many of which did not even yet exist. Rather, real progress would have been strangled in its crib.
For example, my mother had type I diabetes, as do I. Her's was extremely difficult to control -- she ultimately suffered a stroke -- while mine is relatively easy, so long as I am strictly disciplined, in the manner of a yeomanly Beaglehole. Imagine if, in 1980, to make my mother's life "easier," we had "compassionately" imposed socialized medicine on the land. This would have undoubtedly stifled the remarkable developments that have made my own diabetes so easy to manage. Perhaps today I would have "free" healthcare for my diabetes -- except that it would be the same lousy treatment that was available to my mother. No thanks! Yes, my health insurance is expensive, but I also know that the ongoing innovation of the free market will, at the very least, lead to an external pump that will be able to mimic the pancreas within the next five years or so. I do not want "free" health care at the expense of future innovation. Liberals talk about tax cuts "stealing from our children." To the contrary, if I selfishly demand socialized medicine today, it will in all liklihood delay an actual cure for diabetes should Future Leader ever develop it.
But the left, because it is not rational but a secular religion -- a raging bleeding heart instead of a compassionate bleeding mind -- never learns. It is a hateful religion, full of bile, venom and envy. Just listen to the tone of this recent piece by Bill Moyars, For America's Sake. He says that conervatism is just a "Trojan horse" that "disgorged" its
"hearty band of ravenous predators masquerading as a political party of small government, fiscal restraint and moral piety." There is "no end to the number of bodies" that neoconservatives "are prepared to watch pile up on behalf of illusions that can't stand the test of reality..." Contrary to the direct testimony of the vast majority of Americans who say that life is good for them, the real story of America is "the anonymous, disquieting daily struggle of ordinary people, including the most marginalized and vulnerable Americans but also young workers and elders and parents, families and communities, searching for dignity and fairness against long odds in a cruel market world.... Everywhere you turn there's a sense of insecurity grounded in a gnawing fear that freedom in America has come to mean the freedom of the rich to get richer even as millions of Americans are dumped from the Dream.... [B]ecause of the great disparities in wealth, the 'shining city on the hill' has become a gated community whose privileged occupants, surrounded by a moat of money and protected by a political system seduced with cash into subservience, are removed from the common life of the country. The wreckage of this abdication by elites is all around us."
Misery and cruelty everywhere you turn. Insecurity and wreckage all around us.
"In many ways, the average household is generally worse off today than it was thirty years ago, and the public sector that was a support system and safety net for millions of Americans across three generations is in tatters."
Really? Is this even possible? Of course not. It's just a false religion. He even says so, blasphemously comparing the struggle to impose leftism on America to "the mustard seed to which Jesus compared the Kingdom of God, nurtured from small beginnings in a soil thirsty for new roots, our story has been a long time unfolding."
So again we return to Dupree's observation: To the extent that you politicize problems that are existential, psychological, or spiritual, you are a member of "the left."
And to his question: How is your own life going in these here United States? Are things okay for you? If not, whose fault is it? What do you need to do to turn things around?
Integralist, we're waiting. Tell us about the ground under your feet. And remember, you're only as sick as your secrets -- irrespective of whether they are personal or political.
Related this morning on Dr. Sanity: For the Children, So They Never Have to Grow Up.