Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Character, Waking the Sleeper and Buffoons

This from an old rant 11/27/2005

The kind of characters that emerged after World War II some of whom I have had the pleasure of knowing, are a product of something that cannot be readily duplicated. A combination of hardship and sound education produced a certain kind of civilized, indeed cultured individual. An affluent society produces yet another kind of civilization but can it produce a culture, or men and women of real character in sufficiently large numbers to be worthy of survival?

The Book, Rissa Kerguelen comes to mind. If I recall, it employed a rite of passage designed to bring out the best in people through a difficult set of circumstances, carefully designed by the elders to, as the great line from Dune says, "awaken the sleeper." You cannot wake the "sleeper" (a metaphor for the higher self) with too much comfort--hardship and suffering is required.

I have often thought that at the very root of what most people call liberalism is the notion that government can sponsor and support private initiatives in a way that can be of benefit to all. This notion is totally corrupted when it segues into the idea that government should provide not just the means but the goods of life.

I absolutely cannot abide government that is not for the people or government that fosters an adversarial relationship between itself, the public and entrepreneurs who provide jobs and services. When government forgets that its mission is to serve, not to direct life then you have the ghastly thing that I call liberalism. I have to deal with the living embodiment of the looter as portrayed by Ayn Rand in Montgomery County. The "people" in the local government of Maryland almost walk off the pages of her books.

On the other hand, the crank version of conservatism forgets that not everyone is bootstrapable and that people do need a hand--but a hand not a handout.

There is no real reason in my mind not to be, as James says, for both the ideals of conservatism and the ideals of liberalism but in saying that one has to be careful to distinguish between those who through no fault of their own may entertain faulty notions and those whose moral corruption does not allow them to see anything, indeed even want to see or hear anything that might wake them up. When I abuse liberal buffoons such as Ted Kennedy or Barbara Mikulski it is because I see creatures who appear to not want to see, who actively engage in the process of turning their consciousness towards the approval of others based not on principle but on the identity that they receive from the consensus and approval of others.

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