Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Cheap Grace and Cheaper Intelligence of the Left

It occurred to me this morning at 2:10 AM, when I opened my eyes to a fully formed post, that one of the central appeals of modern liberalism for the dead-from-the-neck-up white male is the cheap grace it offers via its institutionalized political kitsch.

Now, I'm quite sure I'm not the first person to have noticed this connection. However, it is the first time I have noticed it -- or at least thought of it in these terms -- undoubtedly because I'm reading this moving biography of Bonhoeffer, an exemplar of the kind of expensive grace that only costs one's life.

A number of other strands came together in that 2:00 AM post. I asked Petey if it could wait until morning, but he was noncommittal as usual, and now here I am trying to put the pieces back together. I have the fragments, but not the whole.

One of the strands had to do with the execrable Chris Matthews, who not only exemplifies the usual sanctimonious cheap grace of the left, but the cheap intelligence that accompanies it.

As we all know, in order to be considered moral or intelligent by the left, one simply has to conform to their ideological template, e.g., demand side economics, global warming, women as victims, political opponents are racist, etc.

In commenting on Newt Gingrich's smackdown of Juan Williams during the debate of two days ago, Matthews said the following:

"I thought we were past all this, didn’t you? You know, the talk about Welfare Queens and phrases like that. Well, you either get the message or you don’t.... this whole conversation isn’t about poverty, but about race. It’s about a candidate who knows just how to make his point to appeal to a certain kind of voter...."

What kind of voter would that be? Ironically, it is about Matthews and his ilk, that is, people who are obsessed with race. In technical terms -- assuming he is being genuine and not just manipulative -- it is a reaction formation, through which the person converts an unacceptable unconscious thought into its conscious opposite.

Thus, "what's with all these black welfare queens?" becomes "why are conservatives so filled with racial animus?" The whole thing has taken place in Matthews' fat head, but it comports with public liberal ideology, so he has no insight into the process -- similar to, say, an anti-Semitic German in the 1930s. Hey, doesn't everyone hate Jews?

This is a preview of how the upcoming presidential campaign is going to be all about race, despite the fact that we specifically elected a "post-racial" president in 2008.

Indeed, despite his spectacular failures, if Obama had only delivered on this promise, his presidency might have been worthwhile, since it would have neutralized this most poisonous and destructive of the left's weapons.

But alas, it was not to be, and we have the most race-conscious and race-baiting administration since perhaps Woodrow Wilson's, that father of modern progressivism. And there's not a thing we can do about it, since allowing a lie to stand is to agree with the lie. But for the liar, defending oneself from their lie is proof of a guilt-ridden defensiveness, so there is no way out. As Vanderleun writes, Obama

"needs to cling, bitterly it may be, to a phalanx of voters who are not African-American in order to win. He can do this with love, with agreement, with fanaticism, and/or with guilt. Of these, the largest segment he can call on would be that powered by guilt. Knowing this the Obama machine can be counted on never to really let up on the 'they hate him not because of the content of his character but because of the color of his skin'" (emphasis mine).

In short, Obama will need to rely on the usual cheap grace and cheaper intelligence of liberal white males in order to defeat the white racist 1950's father of his dark fever dreams.

Well, I got about 20% of the 2:00 AM post down, and now I'm out of time. I'll try to recover the rest tomorrow.


Blogger julie said...

Ah, the 2 AM call. I hope you can recover the rest, this is interesting.

Re. Matthews, and those like him, it's sick how readily they twist meaning, claiming that one's words mean something other than they actually mean. I've seen this type of reaction before from family, but at least in their case it's based on actual (if mostly long in the past) instances of race-baiting, which really does make people a bit paranoid.

Matthews and his ilk have no such excuse. Instead, they are projecting their own racist assumptions into the words of their enemies, while everyone who wants the same cheap grace - that of the magnanimous diversity-loving white guy - rushes to agree. It's like magic: point your finger at the other guy and export your guilt! Painless for you, and that racist bastard will get just what you, er, he deserves!

1/18/2012 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Despite Newt's flaws which are many, his exchange with Williams is a valid reason for Republicans to vote for him. If he and Obama could have one of his "Lincoln-Douglas" style debates, it would define America for fifty years.

Though Gingrich would squash Obama like the intellectual cockroach he is, it is likely that Newt would not "win" such a debate. But at least a significant portion of Americans would know for certain why the country is being destroyed. To somewhere between 40 and 53% of voters, Gingrich would appear to be the ultimate racist who had to be defeated. Republicans would finally have been revealed as the humanoid reptilians that only the leftists could see all along.

But it would be worth it.

Just to clarify, I'm not saying I'll vote for Newt, just that it would be reasonable to do so in light of his occasional ability to shove the left's nose in its own poop.

1/18/2012 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As I once heard Dick Morris put it, "my gut is with Gingrich, but my head is with Romney."

1/18/2012 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Bob, Late last fall I listened enthralled to an interview with Arthur Ainsberg, one of the authors of the book, Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle. If you've not read it, I highly recommend. I gave his book on Shackleton as gifts this year.

On the bedside table now is Beauty for Truth's Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education. Oh and I received a Kindle for Christmas. First download was OCUG!

1/18/2012 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

And Morris points up the problem with Newt. Those boys are just a little sleazy. Not that they aren't good at what they do, but I'd take a scalding shower after I shook hands with either one of them.

Mitt would probably take a shower after shaking hands with me.

1/18/2012 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

And speaking of warped perspectives, check out the cruise ship in a satellite picture.

It looks fake.

1/18/2012 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"... one of the central appeals of modern liberalism for the dead-from-the-neck-up white male is the cheap grace it offers via its institutionalized political kitsch."

That perfectly describes the face, manner and attitude of a YoungUrbanProfessionalPunkIE that I caught a minute of on 60 Minutes last night. He was explaining how he felt perfectly fine turning his keys into the bank and walking out on the mortgage, words to the effect of "I've been helped to see that I'm really doing nothing other than what businesses have been doing for ages, just cutting costs, and I feel fine about that." and he held that idea with such a plesant, self satisfied look, like he was gazing upon the ultimate Elvis on a velvet canvass (sorry Elvis, but, you know).

"Now, I'm quite sure I'm not the first person to have noticed this connection. However, it is the first time I have noticed it -- or at least thought of it in these terms -- undoubtedly because I'm reading this moving biography of Bonhoeffer, an exemplar of the kind of expensive grace that only costs one's life. "

Reading that, and looking at our headlines, didn't do a lot for my optimistic outlook... but fortunately that's the least most relevant part of the book - some seriously Big-O passages within.

1/18/2012 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

The most frustrating thing is that most Black people are unaware of what the Dems. have done to them throughout history in the US.

1/18/2012 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Indeed; one of the grisly wonders of the Democrat party is how it has managed to convince so many minority groups - the Jews come to mind here as well - that Democrats are their true friends. In spite of the long pages of history proving otherwise.

1/18/2012 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Bonhoeffer was a mensch. He wrote: "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."

Don Colacho is right on point, as usual:

"Concerning himself intensely with his neighbor’s condition allows the Christian to dissimulate to himself his doubts about the divinity of Christ and the existence of God. Charity can be the most subtle form of apostasy."

"The progressive Christian’s error lies in believing that Christianity’s perennial polemic against the rich is an implicit defense of socialist programs."

"The modern clergy believe they can bring man closer to Christ by insisting on Christ’s humanity.
Thus forgetting that we do not trust in Christ because He is man, but because He is God."

1/19/2012 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good to see Don Colacho's Aphorisms accessible again. Que hombre!

1/19/2012 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Re: Don Colacho

I love that guy carefully.

Carefully, because of his views on hierarchy and authority. I've always been firmly a popular sovereignty kind of guy, fully on board with the Founders, but also ... careful about this.

It has been interesting to read MOT on the arcanum of the Emperor, so thank you for that. I'm only as far as Letter VI, raccooning as I go.

1/19/2012 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Agree entirely. I just tune that stuff out. He is by no means an American conservative, but a European one. However, there are ways to translate his ideas about authority and hierarchy into an American idiom, i.e., one based on merit and not birth or blood.

1/19/2012 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Here's another aphorist:

Just came across it.

1/19/2012 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Re: European/American, I was just talking to a Frenchman who said, off-handedly, that x person was "on the Left, a thinker" -- with the implicit "i.e." between the two phrases. But in Europe this isn't too far off for several reasons, the main one being that people with enough leisure to think -- instead of, say, innovate, work, create, and other demeaning tasks -- are lefties who've been cherry-picked by senior lefties in the Grand Lefty Academie. The sheer insularity of their position doesn't trouble them, and they enjoy and easily maintain their monopoly. Monopoly, like any form of aristocracy, doesn't trouble them in the least. That is why the EU exists, and also why it is starting to fall apart.

By far the most interesting Europeans I've known are Italian hunters and vintners, self-taught Romanian intellectuals, various kinds of monks, and gypsies. These have been the only people I've met with a powerful sense of immediate reality. The rest have been surfing ephemera, devoid of passion.

1/19/2012 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/19/2012 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Verdiales said "These have been the only people I've met with a powerful sense of immediate reality. The rest have been surfing ephemera, devoid of passion."

Yep. Having no sense of reality means that you will be unable to have any real passion for anything, only defenses, psychosis, tenure, etc.

1/19/2012 09:08:00 AM  

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