Thursday, December 03, 2009

Burking* The Right - At Long Last!




Yesterday, the blog/twittersphere went nuts when Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs officially kicked the Right Wing in their collective teabags.

LGF, if you might remember, used to compete with Drudge and Free Republic for "righter than thou" laurels. Of late, though, it's been moving ... well, actually, in the direction of rational evaluation of issues. (Those who honor the memory of Burke do rather value the virtue of rationality.)


Now, I'd noticed a general exodus from the Echo Chamber around 2003/2004, Andrew Sullivan leaps to mind as an exemplar., but there were many others. For some it was the matter of a war fought incompetently, for others it was the fiscal shenanegans, for others yet, it was torture.

For others, it was regret, I think, for all that has been lost, and all the debts both moral and literal in the name of fraudulent and foolish ambitions substituted for a just and necessary - a price, whether ever paid or not, has put legitimate justice for 9/11 forever out of reach.

Now, - as I have regretfully snarked - there are so few real conservatives willing to be conservative in public that the quote liberals unquote are forced to reinvent themselves in order to fill an vital ecological niche.

Meanwhile, the right continues to consume itself, as anyone capable of prudent government is deemed "too liberal" and those who are idiologically pure enough - are found wanting in other ways. After all, it's come to the point where evident flaws of character - the ones that celebrate torture and enshrine homicidal fits of xenophobia as the sine qua non of manhood are the ones who are raised up.

 And lo, it manifests; a perfect storm fueled with hubris for Mike Huckabee - who was the darling of the theocratic right. It's not so much that he granted clemency to a cop-killer - though that's bad enough. No, when the prosecutor protests, --- well, read for yourself.

It's as close to a "go fuck yourself" you are ever likely to see on the stationary of a Governor, speaking of an arrogance that he manages to conceal rather well, ordinarily.


And frankly, his appearance on The View didn't seem likely to defuse the situation, because for thinking beings, it's not that giving a second chance to someone blew up in his face was so much a concern as was his contempt for those who were concerned about procedure to ensure that it did not blow up.

(Of course, this is NOT the lesson Right Wingers are drawing from the issue. It's not his arrogance, no sirree! It's his compassion!)

“Ironically, what makes Huckabee such an appealing Presidential candidate—his empathy for all people and genuine belief in the individual—is also the trait that will prevent him from ever reaching the White House,” Carter wrote. “His experiences and intuitions that served him well as a minister of the gospel were not always applicable in of governor of a state. The unfortunate reality is that for politicians, unlike pastors, there are limits to compassion.”

But for sensible people, it really is about the arrogance, what that says about his judgment, and whether you want that sort of arbitrary and unaccountable style of governance in a place where life and death decisions are presented to the executive in wholesale, rather than retail quantities.

Oh, don't mistake me, I have far more issues than this with Mike Huckabee. But that's quite beside the point. I think this is a problem for the people that would acclaim the problems as reasons why he should be put into power.

In addition to those who have a problem with all that unmanly compassion.

You see, it's rather problematic for a patriarch to be so dismissive of the proper chain of command. And people most attracted to the Patriarchal approach to ordering human life know that it simply cannot function without a proper respectful consideration of the dignity and good opinion of the likeminded to support the Alpha Patriarch. The appearance that a leader might be arbitrary and whimsical means that he cannot possibly be trusted to hold the High Justice - that is to say, to hold the Law in his Person.

This concept is of course, the essence of patriarchal systems, the Rule of Man, which is claimed by those that favor it to be superior to the Rule of Law. Theocrats further claim they rule by God's Law (It tends to minimize tremblingly abrupt transitions of power) but since the word of God always seems to vary as to the man speaking on his behalf, I've always considered it prudent to pointedly resist such self-appointed "authorities" for a more consistent standard, while relying on a sure and certain faith that should God wish to, She may certainly convey any personal charges to me personally.

The problem is that few men are, indeed, man enough to rule. That is why the Rule of Law was developed - it permits civilization to expand past the extraordinarily limited supply of men who are both exceptionally good with power, and exceptionally trustworthy.

And I think that history is a sufficient record of how very difficult it was for people to live up to such unreasonable expectations of themselves. And of course, it does mirror our own times, where our current leadership models are starting to waver under the strain of information overload.

Certainly a retreat to theocratic feudalism is ridiculous - for regardless of whether you are minded toward a faith based or a science based approach to social problems (or indeed, whether or not you are minded to think of those as dualistic poles at all) the situations we face and the realities we must adapt to are what they are. They are large, and they are not the sort that can be solved at the city-state and warlord level. And as for the competitive Corporate model favored by other factions of conservative - well, very likely the solutions needed are NOT ones that suit themselves to the distribution, decision-making and collaboration models that our current corporate structures are adapted for.

Frankly, I prefer to have as few barriers to adaptation and survival as possible.  It seems - well, it seems Progressive-Conservative of me. Because to me, that's the essence of the concept; an acceptance of change that must occur, with a determination that essentials are not lost in the process. For values that reduce our chances of survival are not survival values.



*burke

tr.v. burked, burk·ing, burkes

1. To suppress or extinguish quietly; stifle: burked the investigation by failing to reappoint the commission.

2. To avoid; disregard: "To make The Tempest a tragic and depressing play he was willing to burke all the elements that made it the exact opposite" (Robert M. Adams).

3. To execute (someone) by suffocation so as to leave the body intact and suitable for dissection.



[After William Burke (1792-1829), Irish-born grave robber and murderer.]

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