Don't Worry, the State of the State is Bigger and More Powerful than Ever!
If only the speech could be delivered Richard Sherman gangster-style, instead of in Obama's soporific, robo-preacher manner, we'd get a better feel for its thuggish content.
We all know the state of the State is strong. Stronger than ever. Ginormous. All-seeing. All-powerful. Intrusive. Coercive. Punitive. But rewarding for cronies, victims, and political insiders.
Er, what about the union?
Oh, that. Weak. Divisive. Fractured. Politically controlled but morally deregulated. The way it should be in order to create the conditions for leviathan. Multiculturalism evokes monocracy -- or rather, vice versa. It's one of those perma-truths, i.e., divide and conquer.
Human beings, apparently by virtue of being human, keep discovering the same truths but call them by different names. They do, however, discover new falsehoods all the time. For a person bitterly clinging to a falsehood, everything is taken as its proof, while nothing is proof of its falsehood, e.g., global warming, Keynesian economics, or hey, two mothers are just as good as a married mother and father, probably even better, because, you know, patriarchy & stuff.
About calling things by the wrong name. The left likes to say that Obama is a "constitutional scholar," by which they really mean that he thoroughly cased the joint before taking office. He studied the Constitution the way a counterfeiter studies money.
Speaking of the rediscovery of old ideas, while reading Betrayal of the Masses I had a flashing insight into existential guilt and original sin. How can we be born guilty?
I once read somewhere that it's not so much that we are born that way, but that we are born into a thoroughly corrupt system. In order to survive, we are all compromised by having to adapt to this human nutwork of greed, passion, envy, self-interest, etc. Thus, we all have dirty hands, which in time dirties our souls, especially if we completely abandon ourselves to its lures, seductions, and temptations.
Ironic, isn't it, that it is the left that is most shrill about the original sin of this corrupt world system? The problem isn't so much pointing out the corruption -- since it is ineveateapple -- but imagining that 1) we can eliminate it, and 2) that the best way to accomplish this is through an intrusive and coercive state, i.e., liberal tyranny.
But the problem -- another one of those universal truths -- is that the same corrupt human beings will be in charge of the state. D'oh!
To put it another way, the reason why government is corrupt is because it is peopled by people. The bigger the government, the more possible it is for politicians to act in self-interest, and the more possible it is to gain power in exchange for cash and other valuable prizes.
The limited government created by the framers offered few opportunities for such widescale patronage and cronyism -- maybe ambassadors, the Postmaster General, and a few other baubles. Limited government offers few ways for resentment and envy to be fungible to political power, since there is little surplus power to redistribute, only the powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution. And those are no fun for a political opportunist on a satanic mission.
One useful idea I pulled from Tyranny is the distinction between primordial despots and transcendental ones. The primordial despot is motivated by the usual human weaknesses, e.g., greed, lust, gluttony, etc. Think of a Charlie Rangel or any other government-fattened pig.
The transcendental despot is far more dangerous, because he is always on a religious crusade masquerading as politics. Siegel implicitly points this out by quoting any number of prominent liberal authors who sound more like deranged prophets than political pundits. They condemn the world -- actually, the United States -- in the most strident and bitter tones, and essentially urge us to repent by giving ourselves over to the latest leftwing savior.
When a liberal talks about "the system," he's really talking about original sin from which we cannot escape by virtue of being in the system.
For example, all people of colorlessness are racist, no exceptions. "Structural racism" is built into the system, so you are guilty no matter what you do. You are guilty if you treat blacks unequally, and you are most certainly guilty if you treat them equally. Engage in the latter and you will face federal charges due to "under-representation" or "disparate impact."
Here the left is adept at reframing offense as defense. In short, they characterize attacks as grievances as a way to legitimize their aggression. Scratch any state-sanctioned victim and you will find a bully. They pretend to be helpless on the outside in order to be vicious on the inside.
Time to move on from politics, before I throw up. Back to the usual fare.
Religion is a map. A map provides orientation and direction, but one is under no compulsion to go anywhere with it. It lets you know YOU ARE HERE and GOD IS THERE. The rest is between you and him.
Or, more generally, religion maps the landscape of the human interior. But in the words of Schuon, "to know the nature of subjectivity is to know the structure of the world."
Thus, the unexamined life is not worth living because it goes absolutely nowhere -- and so fast! The opposite of nowhere is somewhere, probably even here, while a synonym for life is growth, specifically, of differentiation-in-unity (or unity-in-differentiation). Thus, religion ultimately provides the map for growing up. No wonder the left hates it.
To be continued....