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Onward and upward, worse and worse

According to a generally thoughtful and well-informed conservative weblog, Power Line, a recent poll shows

"Americans believe by a 62 percent to 26 percent margin that American society 'is generally fair and decent.' This strikes me as a bit alarming. I'm pretty sure that such a survey taken 45 years ago, when I first started following politics, would have yielded a more overwhelming affirmation of the overall goodness of our society, even though we were actually a much less fair and decent society in those days. The liberal elites, led by the MSM, clearly have made inroads in spreading their contempt for America."

The liberal elites, led by the mainstream media, have made more inroads than the writer recognizes. For starters, they've persuaded basically all thoughtful and moderate conservatives to accept as obvious that American society was much less fair and decent in 1959 than it is in 2004. But why should anybody believe that? Social changes since 1959 have taken mothers away from their children, led millions of them to destroy those children before they're born, forced young people to grow up without fathers, taught boys there's nothing good about being a man or specifically respectable about women, told girls they're victims and predators who deserve everything and nothing, destroyed common culture and common sense, imposed universal bureaucracies of thought control and racial preference, multiplied crimes and prisons, set up an enormous economic gap between top and bottom, increased the working week and economic anxiety, and led to a radical decline in intellectual and cultural standards, rabid and mindless political partisanship, and the kind of entertainment you see on TV. What's so fair and decent about that?

If you're concerned about the marginalized and weak, those changes hurt them more than anybody. Black economic progress slowed down and reductions in poverty basically stopped after the '60s, the period that supposedly gave us the great advances in fairness and decency. Today we have Condi Rice, and also millions of black men in jail and black women without husbands. That's progress? What happened in the '60s, in effect, is that fairness and decency were turned into nationalized industries. Instead of people having to treat each other decently, Society was going to ensure decent treatment. From the standpoint of the Left, and mainstream conservatives who have absorbed the outlook of the Left, that means that in the '60s fairness and decency first came into their own. When you look at what has actually happened it makes more sense to say that outputs dropped while inputs shot up. That's the way nationalization works for the manufacture of pig iron. Why wouldn't the same thing apply to something as hard to force as fairness and decency?

Comments

An extremely well written summary of the truth, as I can attest as a young witness. I hope it seems interesting to add that I and most Americans used to believe things would get better and better. Wrong we were. The utter societal stupidity being tolerated is reflected in the manufacture of not only pig iron but also basic household appliances, which used to last decades and now last less than ten years and don't work as well. Stoves lasted forever, refrigerators lasted at least 20 years, washing machines did not tear clothes, and dryers might have required some minor repairs but lasted 20 years or more. I won't even get into water heaters and air conditioners. Now these items are senselessly more complex, less reliable, and more expensive. Shouldn't the opposite be true?

Do we really need a new kind of switch when the old one lasted forever? Has there been one whit of improvement in these items except energy efficiency? Do we need to pay for new car designs every year instead of the delightful, reliable VW bug? Does government step in and require competition in manufacturing? No; see the dead Microsoft JUDGMENT after a TRIAL Microsoft lost.

I hope I can get a judgment relief card from the President. To illustrate the arrogance of Microsoft, its head later poked the President in the eye by not only opposing his tax breaks but, I'll bet, by taking advantage of the breaks given. Microsoft cannot even write a decent, free help booklet; suckers like me can forget about support as my nanogate drops off after leaving the store. Don't make me come down and talk about "anti-virus" software!

Mr. Henri,

You have failed the one requirement to post on this weblog. You forgot to blame liberals for all of your complaints. You now need to go back and make sure you tie all of your problems with consumer goods to the mindless liberals who seeks only to destroy our country which they do not care about.

The country may have been better in 1959 (why this date?) I grew up in the 1980's and I thought the country was better then than it is now. I am sure the Pope would just assume we turn back the clock back to a time before the Reformation. Sadly we cannot go home again.
MM

MM writes,

"The country may have been better in 1959 [...]. I grew up in the 1980's and I thought the country was better then than it is now. [...] Sadly, we cannot go home again."

Both are right, MM---the country was better in 1959 and in the 80s than it now is. Yes, we have personal computers today and other gadgets, lots of new medicines, and some further improvements. But you know in what sense we use the word "better": we intend a deeper, more important meaning of that word than has to do with modern gadgets or even new medicines.

And you're right that "we can't go home again." (Or are you? ... Perhaps we'll see about that ...)

How would you as a liberal solve the problem, MM? Could all the post-60s liberal transformations our society has undergone be themselves the dreaded socio-toxin? Or is it that they were never rammed down our throats aggressively enough, and so failed to confer benefit?

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"If a tree falls and an expert doesn't hear it, is there a sound?" Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

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I did not say or imply liberals are responsible for my specific complaints, so the comment lacks a rational basis. To the contrary, the Microsoft lawsuit is the only thing I mentioned that has a specific connection to liberalism, to my knowledge; and I implied I supported it. The left liberal Clinton Administration pursued the suit, and the right liberal President Bush (a/k/a as a conservative by left liberals) squelched it.

What I do say is raw politics, greed, and judicial fiat are responsible for our poor protection of competition.

The question the quote from Power Line presented wasn't whether liberalism is good or bad but whether American society is more fair and decent today than 45 years ago. I claimed t the reverse is true, for reasons mostly having to do with the disappearance or destruction of various forms of traditional informal social connectivity. Liberalism is the ideology of that process. As such it greatly exacerbates it and so promotes the reign of Mr. Henri's "raw politics, greed, and judicial fiat," but it's obviously not the whole story.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

I realized that in my initial comment, I did not tie the decline in manufacturing to liberalism. When I started drafting, I hoped a connection would occur to me. But the connection never surfaced mostly because I lack the philosophical and political training necessary to make such connections, which is why I hang around here. It is a source I can trust. I hoped my ideas would help another to make the connection and would indicate there is interest in this site.

I cannot imagine why people would hang around the New York Times or most of the major media, which lacks credibility to me. I will eventually try a liberal Website after I have been sufficiently deprogrammed from the liberal mindset I did not even realize I had until tuning into Mr. Kalb's sites.

"I hoped my ideas would help another to make the connection [...]." (---Paul Henri)

Your ideas have always helped me, Mr. Henri. I've been reading them for two years now and have learned a lot from them.
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"If a tree falls and an expert doesn't hear it, is there a sound?" Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

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My goodness. Flattery will get you everywhere with me Mr. Scooby. Thank you. I have read and often appreciated your postings. So please keep them up.

Did it ever occur to you Mr. Henri that there is no connection? Has it ever occurred to anyone that all the bad things in this world cannot be laid at the feet of liberalism? If that idea had never passed through your head it clearly demonstrates the limits of conservative "thought." MM

"Has it ever occurred to anyone that all the bad things in this world cannot be laid at the feet of liberalism?" (---MM)

Can MM cite anything bad that's occured in the sixty years since WW II that can rightly be laid at the feet of liberalism?

(Incidentally, most of the bad things that have occured subsequent to 1989 can be laid at the feet of this ghastly new liberalism-Wall Street alliance.)
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"If a tree falls and an expert doesn't hear it, is there a sound?" Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

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The New York Blade reported Nov 19th that Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) "activists hope to put a dent in the collections of the Salvation Army for what they say are the religious charity’s anti-gay policies . . .gay-friendly retailer Target banned the Salvation Army from soliciting at its stores across the country . . ."Ú

Wall Street is an ally of all powerful classes regardless of politics. I suspect Mr. Scooby relies on the said premise in concluding Wall Street has sided with liberalism, clearly the dominant political system. Accordingly, we see the man with the largest stock holding on Wall Street, Bill Gates, (and George Soros, maybe a more influential Wall Street power) siding with the left-liberals in opposing a reduction in taxes.

The said premise implies that lesser powers will also have influence on Wall Street. Right-liberals (a/k/a conservatives) are numerous and helped defeat the left-liberals in the last national election. We saw many right-liberals---many of whom are relatively small holders on Wall Street---side with a right-liberal who says he is for tax reduction but exhibits an unknown degree of preference. Thus Mr. Scooby's proposition needs supplementation.

Mr. Scooby's point about liberalism is still relevant. Imagine proposing to Bill Gates (a left-liberal) that he fork over all his stock in MS to an Uncle Sam who would dutifully redistribute the stock immediately in exchange for a lifetime employment contract whereby Mr. Gates would receive a yearly income based on the performance of MS and its stock to date, adjusted yearly for MS's performance. My bet is he would reject it because Bill Gates is a power hungry, envious, greedy hypocrite. (Remember that Mr. Gates would still keep his remaining assets.) Mr. Gates shares two or more of these traits with the pro-tax people he sides with.

In conclusion, as long as we pursue goals such as wealth and power without reliance on God for guidance, we will surely fall into greed and hypocrisy.

My interrogator need not be so combative. (I can be quite flip also you know, a trait I can successfully suppress when writing or speaking formally.) I am delighted he is willing to hang around here awhile and endure me. Maybe we will both learn something.

It has occurred to me that liberalism is not entirely or substantially a cause of the problems I complain about. That is why I did not tie them together. But I can see why my interrogator would think that I had not tried to disassociate them; I said I wanted to tie them together and said I wished someone would. So it would appear I am biased.

I suppose my bias is caused by experiencing a concurrence of sudden dominance by liberals in the media, academia, and among the political elites. This concurrence exploded in the 1960's (although it began much earlier). This dominance concurred with the dramatic devolution of American culture. (Devolution is a premise no doubt my interrogator would dispute. His evidence would be considered though.) I should just stop now, or else I will put everyone to sleep.

Reading the quotation from Power Line, one is reminded of everything that's wrong with the current National Review, the ACU, Heritage and AEI, George Will, the Republican Party, and "worse and worse".

WW

If you can believe it, my respected interrogator, but here is merely one example of judicial fiat that I want to tell you about in an attempt to amuse rather than to argue. Around 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court found there was a rational relationship between laws keeping river piloting in the family and the purported purpose of the laws, river safety. If that is not funny enough, consider the Court required and requires any act of Congress to undergo its "strict scrutiny" if the act is patently discriminatory against individuals based on race, and just about every river pilot was and is white.

My impression is the rotten judiciary today was set in motion and is now a juggernaut that demolishes the power of the other coequal branches of American government envisioned by our Founding Fathers. The juggernaut was set in motion by the grotesque McCullough v. Maryland case decided about two hundred years earlier by a single chief justice, who was and remains all that is required by the Constitution. (I'll give the details of the above if anyone is interested.) Such a tragedy could have occurred at the Battle of Midway in 1942. We were very lucky at Midway but not in McCullough. This is not hyperbole: consider whether The West would even exist today had the pitifully few, militaristic, homosexual Spartans not made their stand at Thermopylae in defiance of the Persians.

The relevance of the comment is a proposed answer to the issue of why have things gotten worse over the last fifty years in a country blessed with enormous natural resources, two oceans that impose a forseeably invulnerable impediment to armed invasion, Christian forefathers, and the best government yet devised (in the words of the great Winston Churchill, not that we can't question his enormous intellect.)

Liberalism might indeed have been the basis of that long dead Justice's decision. I'll leave that answer to people more informed than me. My concern is that although Constitutions (i.e., principles) are essential in the here and now, reliance on legal principles is insufficient. The principles or laws must have purposes that are good, true, and beautiful, as Mr. Kalb has proposed. So we come to religion, and who decides the ultimate principles? My answer is the Bible, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and the Pope: not that other Christians don’t deserve aid and comfort from Catholics, they do.

Fundamentals such as religion always seem necessary. Do we not need to know to keep our eye on the ball and swing evenly and with determined control? Is not attack almost always essential to victory? Doesn't every force have an equal and opposition reaction?

The courts though don't interpret principles consistently. They constantly make exceptions that go far beyond the language they interpret. One of tens of thousands of examples is illustrated by the Florida Supreme Court's interpretation of a time limit imposed by a duly elected legislature, which had written a law that merely, and perhaps even arbitrarily, set a statute of limitations (or a prescriptive period as such things are referred to in jurisdictions following Codes, used for over two thousand years all over the West except in England and America, except for Louisisana). It is incomprehensible that the majority of Florida's justices decided the time limit was a mere guideline. So 10-yard lines and 60 minutes are just guidelines for football games?

I must defer to Mr. Kalb and others to tie my observations to liberal philosophy.

I wish to ask MM again whether, in his opinion, anything truly bad has been brought about by liberalism since World War II. Has anything, MM?

Of course MM might answer by saying, "Let Mr. Scrooby go first. In Mr. Scrooby's opinion, has conservatism wrought anything truly bad since World War II?" My answer is yes, tons of stuff. A few of the most glaring today would be conservatism's plans to replace this country's white race through a national policy---imposed by the government with iron-fisted force---not only of open borders with all of Latin America, but of the active seeking-out and deliberate, facilitated importation and coddling of incompatible non-white third-worlders from every corner of the globe and granting them every conceivable preference over whites once they're here with draconian social ostracism and criminal punishments in store for any whites who dare to protest in other than governmentally-approved ineffective ways; the deliberate, calculated, further entrenchment of wrong, harmful, and outrageous racial spoils and race-replacement-engineering policies known falsely as "affirmative action"; the hindering of efforts on the part of Christian groups to get marriage-protection measures onto state ballots in the recent election; the humoring of the Marxist sex-denial psychosis by continuing to push clueless, depressed, extremely confused eighteen-year-old girls---whose only problem is that they weren't raised right, often without having a dad in the home---into combat situations in the armed forces where they don't belong, never did, and never will; the collusion with Wall Street in the deliberate depression of white birth rates by a whole slew of means having as their ultimate aim the extinguishing of the white race here because white people ask too much in wages, generally, and also tend to be more resistant than non-whites to government plans to reduce populations gradually to a condition of abject slavery; active support for the combined Marxist/Wall-Street attack on traditional ethno-culture and societal structure known propagandistically as "multiculturalism"; opposition to reasonable "Green" measures aimed at legitimate environmental protection for the reason that Wall Street hates anything that can't be paved over and made into a Walmart parking lot; and many others.

That's an extremely tiny sampling of the harm wrought by conservatives. I don't consider myself a conservative, for many reasons including the fact that conservatives do tremendous amounts of harm to society---but there are more important reasons, which are linked to that. I consider myself a Normal Person: someone---whether normal himself or not---who distinguishes right from wrong, normalness from degenerateness, and prefers what's normal and right for society rather than what's wrong and degenerate. Opposed to Normals are Degenerates, people---whether degenerate themselves or not---who prefer degenerateness for the society around them. The left-liberals are today's main Degenerate faction, followed closely by the Country Club Conservatives. Today's tradcons are the Normals (also appropriately called The Progressives).

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"If a tree falls and an expert doesn't hear it, is there a sound?" Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

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I'm a liberal and I would strongly agree with almost everything in your list of how things have gotten worse, leaving out only abortion (fetuses aren't kids) and universal bureaucracies of thought control (huh? what science fiction novel have you been reading). Also, there is some good stuff on TV (Sopranos, Seinfeld, Simpsons are all really good art).

I would also say liberalism is much better placed to address these problems, mainly because liberals are comfortable with challenging the dominance of markets and profits in our cultural and family lives. I also feel that liberals are in the end more suspicious of government authoritarianism of the type you point to with prisons and crime (e.g. the drug war). Conservatives are quick to claim authoritarianism when there is (any!) government interference with the market, but quick to reach for the criminal-justice stick when their paranoia about social change kicks in.

It seems artificial to make such an absolute distinction between the value of a baby before and after birth. We're not likely to agree on that though. As to "universal bureaucracies of thought control," it's a way of referring to the increasing centralization and specialization of public discussion and intellectual life, and the increasing influence of claims of expertise in a society in which there are lots of social programs and everything is professionalized. (I'm comparing the recent situation with the situation pre-60s, pre-WW II, and pre-WW I.)

Anybody can call himself a liberal or conservative, and mainstream American conservatism has a strong streak of classical liberalism and sometimes pre-60s liberalism or even Jacobinism (for example with the neocons and G. W. Bush). Still, you have to distinguish tendencies and I don't think what's needed is anything that can be called liberalism. The basic problem seems to be a decline in durable functional relations among particular people and groups of people, but philosophical liberalism makes human relations optional, therefore contractual or purely sentimental, therefore fungible and transitory.

I agree the dominance of markets should be contested in many aspects of social life. The problem is that liberalism can only contest it from above, by the force of bureaucratic regulation, or to some extent by supplying an anarchic impulse that relaxes all standards. What's needed though is settled habits and attitudes that support particular settled relationships that people can rely on and live by. I don't see how liberalism can help on that front.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

The belief that unborn children are not human beings is similar to the belief Jewish people are not human beings, which the Nazis espoused. What is the distinction between bayoneting an infant and slashing an unborn child to death during an abortion?

Henri---Agree with your comment but, considering Jewish positions on abortion, I would have chosen another group which has been seen as less than human as an example.

"Judaism says very specifically that a fetus is not a person until birth and until it s urvives 30 days,"---Rabbi Sally Priesand, Monmouth Reform Temple, NJ

Not all Jews agree with Rabbi Priesand but her view is not uncommon. One can see it reflected in Jewish support for abortion and in the ethics of those such as Peter Singer.

Even Avi Sh afran, "director of public affairs for the fervently Orthodox Agudath Israel of America", does not condemn all abortion:

“We feel there must be a right to abortion, but we feel an unfettered right to abortion, as a post-facto birth control, does not send the right message . . .”

Source: National Jewish Telegraph Agency: Support for Bush on moral values has many Jewish officials worried

?ˇ

"[...] considering Jewish positions on abortion, I would have chosen another group" [...] ( ---Muhlenberg)

There are points on which religions can differ legitimately and ones on which they can't. Sorry, "Rabbi," but on the question of unrestricted abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy they can't: there's a right and a wrong view.

In the exact instant a religion defends baby-killing it transforms itself from something godly to something pagan. Thanks to representatives such as this "rabbi," Reform Judaïsm is, like Episcopalianism, in the process of losing its status as a religion (and may already have done). Bye-bye---it's been nice knowin' ya ... You're in the process of demoting your denomination to a level of cult status on a par with that group of New Age California Kool-Aid drinkers who worshipped the comet Hale-Bopp or whatever it was.

Did everyone see, incidentally, where this ignorant, immoral woman posing as a rabbi is attempting to reinforce her interpretation of reality by tacking on a month after birth during which it's OK to kill a baby? Obviously she wouldn't approve the capricious killing of babies until age one month. What she's doing is clumsily trying to reinforce unrestricted abortion's OKness by saying, "Look you knuckle-dragging simians, you don't know how lucky you are---if we really wanted, God lets us kill fetuses for an entire month after they're already what you call "born"---so just shut up and be thankful you're getting as much as you're getting from us!"

The views spouted by this morally unacceptable person who is beneath contempt---who dares to pose as a rabbi, no less!---elicit only disgust in a large portion of the Jewish Community.

As for Avi Shafran's statement, I didn't look at the details because "Rabbi" Priesand's comment was enough shock for one day. But at first glance it looks like utter crap from about a dozen different points of view all at once---and from an Orthodox Jew, no less! Another poseur ...
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"If a tree falls and an expert doesn't hear it, is there a sound?" Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

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Here's a statement of actual Jewish law regarding abortion. Basically, it's forbidden except in cases of direct threat to the mother's life.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Is forbidden except in cases from dangers for jews mothers,orthodox jews doctor can makes abortions for gentiles mothers without conscience troubles,aish torah is another group created in order to get support/money/ from evangelicals for zionists groups,settlements,etc. they as Elliot Abrams considers to jews/even converted ones/ married to gentiles another way from makes a Holocaust;although for saying something in their favor they publish media watch an interesting website exposing radical agenda from leftists /muslims media.

Fred, Avi Shafran's statement suprised me as I thought Orthodox opposed all abortion, not just abortion used as birth control.

The Jewish Telegraph Agency, which reported his comment, is left wing. It may have picked the one orthodox who holds that view in or der to push an agenda.

Far as a child not being fully human until a month after birth, Priesand isn't the only Reform rabbi who has made that point. Don't have them handy but there are long discussions on the net why that is the case. History is ci ted. Has to do with being a tribe, often on the move, high infant mortality rates and so on.

b–

"Far as a child not being fully human until a month after birth, Priesand isn't the only Reform rabbi who has made that point. Don't have them handy but there are long discussions on the net why that is the case. History is cited. Has to do with being a tribe, often on the move, high infant mortality rates and so on." (---Muhlenberg)

What I said in my other comment about her and that notion stands. I personally don't plan on spending time looking up more modernist insane leftist sophistry. That false idea and this woman and anyone else who dares to espouse it are an abomination. Anyone who doesn't see that leftist sophistry is a weapon used to keep normal people on the defensive---keep them constantly wasting their time trying sincerely to counter arguments that in reality were invented purely frivolously, precisely in order to make normals keep wasting their time in useless nonsense, etc., is blind. When they fear we might be gaining on them they trot out something on the order of "We assert that two plus two equals five," and fools on our side then spend half their lifetimes arguing against that crap. "Two men can marry each other." "There are no such things as races." "The Jewish religion says you can kill a baby up to a month after it's been born, so shut up, pro-life neanderthals!" Anyone who takes the bait needs to have his head examined. Whether even their "brand of Judaïsm"---namely, something akin to the "brand of Christianity" espoused by the Unitarians (you know ... the outfit with the "workshops on Polyamory" and stuff like that?)---can be said to believe that abominable lie is not knowable, since they're constantly pulling new untruths out of thin air to justify their godless hedonism: today it's one thing; tomorrow it'll be another. Take the bait each time, and until you're ninety and in your grave you'll be doing naught but arguing against two plus two equals five while they're busy elsewhere organizing and advancing their agenda.

As for this quote from Mr. Shafran,

“We [Orthodox Jews] feel there must be a right to abortion, but we feel an unfettered right to abortion, as a post-facto birth control, does not send the right message ...”,

in order to get into the details of it one must first be able to stomach the overall quote, and I'm sorry, but right from the get-go I just can't stomach where he says "an unfettered right to an abortion as post-facto birth control does not send the right message." "Does not send the right message"??? What does he think we're talking about---parental strategies for getting your teenager to watch less MTV and spend more time on his homework or something? Whether or not to let your teenage daughter wear a décolleté to a party? This leftist fails utterly to understand what the abortion controversy is about. We're talking largely about baby-killing here, Mr. Shafran, not "sending the right message," you blind leftist imbecile masquerading as a spokesman for Orthodox Judaïsm no less! The man deserves no response because right from the start he puts himself out the argument by showing himself to be an ignoramus and obnoxious moral non-entity.

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"If a tree falls and an expert doesn't hear it, is there a sound?" Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

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please mr Muhlenberg no permits to fear to be clasified as antisemite; propaganda by zionist,liberal-ecumenical and neoconservative garbage machines(a.k.a. information news outlets),get you confounded,the cruel reality is: Only very isolated jewish groups in america and canada stand against abortion,because evangelical influence in northamerica jewry by zionist/dispensational alliances,talmud-a withcraft book- and kabbalah teaches between many another horrors abortion is only comdemnable when endangering jewish tribal survival but must to be promoted when gentiles can be affected by it,please visit these websites blessedquietness.com,israelshamir.net,holywar.org,hoffman-info.com,jewishtribalreview.com,for more info about this dirty pseudo religion,and reads testimony from cesar aharonian(whtt.org),an orthodox jew zionist converted to christ.

that group agudat ysrael is a fanatical orthodox/zionist group,they get funds from catholics and evangelicals through jerusalem friendship fund.