Arthur Silber has the gay libertarian opera blogger market pretty well cornered, but I'll note that on a cool Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, stuck in the office prepping for a gala fundraiser, a little opera goes a long way.
Cecilia Bartoli has always been a revelation, but her mature voice (she came to prominence at a very young age for a female singer, well before she turned thirty), with all her acquired musical intelligence, wit, and emotional generosity are a joy, particularly when one spends so much time considering politics, which is about precisely the opposite qualities. Politics is small; it brooks no generosity. Political obsessives are quick to denigrate art as irrelevant. Well, yes. To them.
Last year, Bartoli released an album called Opera Prohibita, which explores religious oratoria written during a papal opera ban in the 18th century. Aside from some absolutely marvelous, virtuosic coloratura in pieces by Scarlatti in particular, there is a magnificent slow aria entitled "Vanne pentita a piangere" from Il trionfo della innocenza by Antonio Caldara.
It is much preferable to the New York Times.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Arthur Silber has the gay libertarian opera blogger market pretty well cornered, but I'll note that on a cool Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, stuck in the office prepping for a gala fundraiser, a little opera goes a long way.
Friday, May 19, 2006
REQUIRING A PHOTO ID TO VOTE? Doesn't seem that unreasonable to me, given that I have to show one to buy a beer.Libertarian Glenn Reynolds, ladies and gentlemen, Das Unmittelbarpandit. I'm sure there's a great party slogan in there somewhere: "Libertarians: We don't like the government, but, eh, since it's already there..."
UPDATE: Reader Barry Dauphin emails that he had to show one to buy Claritin-D.
Katie Couric's so very GLAAD [Tim Graham]Really? I mean, really?
On the occasion of the final episode of NBC's Will & Grace, Katie Couric insisted, "on a serious note," that it's one of her daughter's favorite shows, and it's so important to teach tolerance of "people who are different" at a "very early age." Anyone who expected a fair and balanced anchorwoman at CBS on the hot-button social issues, shred your illusions now.
from The Corner
Will & Grace was a sitcom in which a gay attorney named Will who appeared to have neither clients nor cases lived in an impossibly expensive park-view Manhattan apartment with and/or across from his best friend, a heterosexual interior designer named Grace with neither portfolio nor clients, who has in her employ as an assistant an alcoholic woman of extraordinary wealth named Karen, and to this mix is added an unemployed aspiring something-or-other homosexual named Jack who, despite an absence of employment, lives in something resembling comfort, also, presumably, in Manhattan. Star Wars is more verisimilitudinous. It's preposterous for Katie Couric to hold this cotton candy up as some sort of teaching moment for one's impressionable children, but it's far more preposterous for this Graham fellow to presume whatever it is that he's presuming. "Hot-button social issues?" It's like assuming a fellow's position on foreign policy from his stance on M*A*S*H, his beliefs about environmental sustainability from his stance on Gilligan's Island.
Is there something about religionism that makes adherents incapable of recognizing fiction? I've noted of late that so-called social conservatives of the religious mold invariably impute a kind of sociological inerrancy to all manner of fictions, as if every Disney-cartoon Indian and her talking hedgehog, or whatever, represent an exact portrait of the mind of such-and-such a Kulturkampf liberal enemy, in precisely the same manner that the Bible supposedly represents the true expression of the mind of god, or as if the Central Committee of Hollywood and Certain Parts of Manhattan is the Invisible Master enforcing some hidden doctrine of Soviet Realism on network television, for chrissake.
Meanwhile these same conservatives who constantly decry the spoiling of our culture by sitcom-and-scimitar don't seem particularly motivated to actually, you know, embrace our cultural heritage, certainly not where literature is concerned. David Brooks reads Tolstoy for tips on good marriage! John Derbyshire reads Lolita to mean something about women being slutty and getting raped, then blames liberalism for coarsening the culture with its Freudianisms and its buggery . . . or something. It's entirely incoherent. Allan Bloom may have been a pompous, perverted, pederastic old gasbag, but at least he could read a sentence. Today, they say "culture" and mean Leave It to Beaver. In that spirit:
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.
Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would send him dancing.
Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.
Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.
Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.
Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing:
He missed the medieval grace
Of iron clothing.
Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.
Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.
I don't think I've ever read an article about or review of Tim Friedman without encoutering some variation on the following sentence: "Friedman's appeal seems to rest on his ability to discuss complex issues in the simplest possible terms." (Friedman's writing style, which results from his obssessive use of an immense Boggle gamepiece stocked with ever cliché and dead idiom in the modern history of English, is unfortunately contagious, even to his critics.)
But that's not strictly true. Friedman doesn't discuss complex issues in the simplest possible terms; rather, he discusses something else entirely in the simplest possible terms in general proximity to complex issues, like the innumerate football player scribbling cartoon marginalia while the rest of the class studies calculus in the same classroom.
The above-linked collection of Friedman's pronouncements on Iraq, each of which involves some variation of "in six months, we're gonna know it it is or if it ain't," is pretty bathetic, but there nonetheless remains a hint of tragedy. I'd love to write a book about Friedman, but someone already did.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Over at the Wall Street Journal, Sister Pegasus of Noonan notes with sentiment not unlike satisfaction that Jesus would most certainly not have allowed some Mexicano to trim His hedges, nor yet to chlorinate his pool. This all has something to do with George W. Bush, but I'm not certain what. Why, the plaintive cry goes up, would noted theologians Tom Hanks and Ron Howard lend their Augustinian perspicacity to this "spoof" of one of the world's great religions? Between this and Brokeback Mountain, it's a wonder our boys aren't eschewing their catechism-themed sleepovers for a lot of late-night buttfucking to the siren song of Joseph Campbell audio books.
I digress. The point is that having perused the critical responses to Ron Howard's Dan Brown's The da Vinci Code, I thought to myself, Why not head over to the Barnes & Noble and actually read the damned thing? So off I went.
I confess I am a great fan of all things Templar. Were that I could be accused of sodomitical heresy by an uncertain French monarch in league with a fearful Vatican . . . Jacques de Molay has always been a tragic hero of mine, and of all the heresies, I've always felt that Albigensianism was the most attractive, if only because Languedoc is such a lovely region . . .
So yes. It took no more than five minutes to read the first two chapters, and that was enough. It was bad enough that we had to pretend The Passion of the Christ was a work of important religious historigraphy; now we're to pretend that a Hardy Boys novel is a serious proposition of theological revision? Admittedly, giant albino assasins are no more preposterous than virgin births and bodily assumptions, but must I script my objections to religion as an airport thriller in order to have them seriously debated in this country of ours.
Jesus Holler, Kentucky 12:46 AM
World-renwoned populist gasbag William Jennings Bryan heaved the bourbon still from its stand and fell backward onto the ground behind and below him.
He heard a voice, chillingly close. "Do not move."
A giant Baltimorean stood above him.
"Do you expect me to talk?" cried Bryan.
"No, Mr. Bryan, I expect you to die. But first, I shall read to you this review of Beethoven's symphonic works."
The two men watched the steamer round the bend, then, ascending arm in arm the slope of the bank, returned to the station. They had been in this vast and dark country only a very short time, and as yet always in the midst of other white men, under the eye and guidance of their superiors. And now, dull as they were to the subtle influences of surroundings, they felt themselves very much alone, when suddenly left unassisted to face the wilderness; a wilderness rendered more strange, more incomprehensible by the mysterious glimpses of the vigorous life it contained. They were two perfectly insignificant and incapable individuals, whose existence is only rendered possible through the high organization of civilized crowds. Few men realize that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings. The courage, the composure, the confidence; the emotions and principles; every great and every insignificant thought belongs not to the individual but to the crowd: to the crowd that believes blindly in the irresistible force of its institutions and of its morals, in the power of its police and of its opinion. But the contact with pure unmitigated savagery, with primitive nature and primitive man, brings sudden and profound trouble into the heart. To the sentiment of being alone of one's kind, to the clear perception of the loneliness of one's thoughts, of one's sensations--to the negation of the habitual, which is safe, there is added the affirmation of the unusual, which is dangerous; a suggestion of things vague, uncontrollable, and repulsive, whose discomposing intrusion excites the imagination and tries the civilized nerves of the foolish and the wise alike.How do you reply? It's easy enough, and conveniently true, to say that worse violence is commited every day by the Iraqi insurgency. It's easy enough to say that the Marines who executed those innocents acted out of fear, anger, and ignorance; you can even say so without intending to excuse them. That is, you can say so and still consider what they did to be an abominable crime. But at the heart of it . . .
from "An Outpost of Progress" by Joseph Conrad
Many supporters of America's intervenionist foreign policy, conservatives and "liberal hawks" alike, defend their positions on moral grounds. They decry the so-called cultural relativism of their political opponents, who in the minds of the moral interventionists have chosen to deny the capacity of foreign peoples to live with and enjoy the same measure of liberty available to us in the West. They say that our claims about the complexity of other societies and civilizations and about the difficulty of grafting "our" way of life onto "them" are superficial truths deployed as rhetorical cover for a sort of prejudice: that some peoples are incapable of freedom and self-governance. Underlying such claims is the sense and accusation that opponents of American policy are unwilling to sacrifice in the cause of global liberation. To be fair, there's some truth to that.
But the greater error is the belief in the essential plasticity of every society, save our own. This error compounds itself in the assumption that since the institutions of a nation and culture(s) like Iraq are inferior to our own, insofar as they allow less freedom, permit (debatably) more corruption, are less transparent, are more violent, therefore they're less essential. Because they're bad, they're unnecessary, in other words. Likewise, we err in believing that clannishness, tribalism, and ethnoreligious sectarianism can also be broken down and remade into true civilization, which allows for such distinctions but only in a much-diminished way, as in the US, where despite talk of political polarization, of secular-religious conflict, intergroup contention remains principally rhetorical.
Read the Conrad excerpt again. He says that deprived of their groups, their institutions, and their orderly crowds, civilized men become something else altogether. Exposure to savagery makes lonely men into savages themselves. And what is our war in Iraq but mutual, reciprocal savagery. Forget who started it or why. Forget whether or not Donald Rumsfeld or Saddam Hussein is more culpable for the commencement of armed conflict. Forget the specific genesis of war. Those questions are ultimately political, not essential. However horrible the institutional and social life of the nation of Iraq may have been, we erred in smashing it, because stripped away the compass points of Iraqi lives:
To the sentiment of being alone of one's kind, to the clear perception of the loneliness of one's thoughts, of one's sensations--to the negation of the habitual, which is safe, there is added the affirmation of the unusual, which is dangerous; a suggestion of things vague, uncontrollable, and repulsive, whose discomposing intrusion excites the imagination and tries the civilized nerves of the foolish and the wise alike.It is as applicable to an ordinary man become Sunni insurgent as it is to a decent Marine become murderer of innocents.
And it can't be bottled back up.
I studied violin through the end of college, though I've since only played recreationally (pardon the druggie lingo), and my skills have declined even as my enjoyment of the damnable instrument has grown exponentially. I recommend formerly rank amateur musicianship to anyone. Anyway . . .
Many of my good friends at school were conservatory students, string players mostly, and, impressionable youth that I was, I picked up a lot of nasty habits from them, one of the nastiest of which was condescension toward music that I, truth told, truly enjoy(ed).
On a rainy morning in Pittsburgh, after the first espresso but before the second, there are very few things as lovely as Perlman playing "Liebesfreud". I don't care that Fritz Kreisler is the schlockiest schlockster in the whole history of Veinna, a city not unknown for its schlockster composers.
That is all.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Today, in the passage of some more meaningless immigration pap designed (an overestimation, surely) to do something, but not to answer the fundamental question--What is the immigration and naturalization policy of the United States?--Senator Jeff Sessions misquoted Robert Frost: "Good fences make good neighbors. Fences don't make bad neighbors."
Something there is that doesn't love an illettré moron . . .
Understanding penetrates the chamber of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (sic) rarely indeed, but is it so much to ask that a gentleman read a work before bandying it about like a dead cat. Here is the poem, "Mending Wall." Senator Sessions would do well to read it through to the end:
. . .I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Finally, a spy who acts like a fucking spy.
So Dusty Foggo (and someone better thank his Mama and Papa for that moniker) was living like the Sultan of Brunei (or like superstar haridresser Paul Mitchell!)! So what? At least he was livin'.
Those who know me—a dwindling crowd due to my general rancor and misanthropy—know me as a very good amateur chef, and though you’d suspect, reading this blog, that my principle concerns in life are reconciling my libertarian impulses with my essentially elitist world-view, in fact my principle concern is topping the capon I roasted last Thanksgiving, which was, in my considered opinion, the finest roast bird ever prepared in the city of Pittsburgh, though perhaps not the finest ever prepared in the whole entire world.
Anyway, the point, joking aside, is that I love food and I love good food writing. Ergo, I consider Frank Bruni one of the ten worst people alive today, his exact position contingent only on the slim possibility that the real Martin Bormann as yet lives, fat and face-lifted, on some idyllic banana farm with a maid named Constanza, two pet monkeys, and an occasional visit from a bien monté local youth with a passion for buggery and light bondage.
Bruni begins his most recent review (of Crema, a fancy-Mex place in Chelsea) with:
A CHICKEN entree that Julieta Ballesteros serves at her new restaurant, Crema, is one of the most enticing dishes I've encountered in a while. It's also the most heartbreaking.The first sentence is perfectly fine. The second is insane. Heartbreaking? I’m a fan of hyperbole, but a man whose heart can be broken by poultry hasn’t the constitution for food criticism. Even the French would scoff at such lunacy. Pork, perhaps, can break a man’s heart. But not some denuded (it’s a boneless, skinless breast, we later find) body-part hacked from the world’s most edible vermin.
That's a lot of drama to attribute to poultry, but the poultry in this case is being put through unusually dramatic paces by an exceptionally talented chef. It more or less summarizes the story of Crema, which entrances and then disappoints you, its come-on stronger than its follow-through, and not just with that flirty bird.
Then there’s "a lot of drama to attribute to poultry." Which ought to lay to rest forever the old Shakespeare-Francis Bacon-unamed Sheik authorial controversy. It was Foghorn Leghorn all along. That "flirty bird"—that particular word-pair is so dirty that it’s untouchable.
The rest of the review is boilerplate Bruni, with flavors serenading and so forth. In the end, he tries another chicken dish, and this time "the bird kept up its end of the deal." When an ordinary person uses that phrase to describe something that was flirty over dinner . . . well . . .
The internet has lately been much ablaze with reactions to the infelicitous ruminations of "Christian Libertarian" Vox Day who, if his author photo is any indication, is in possession of the worst haircut since (appropriately enough) Heinrich Himmler.
Vox Day believes that there is an ongoing "mass migration" from Mexico. I’ll leave that one to the demographers. He believes that "Mexican nationals [have] helped lower America's wage rates by 16 percent over the last 32 years." I’m uncertain of the provenance of this statistic, but although real wages have indeed declined over the last several decades, it's been by about half the author’s claim (and I note that the linked numbers are from a very labor-friendly organization).
And then he gets himself into real trouble:
And he will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: "Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it's just not going to work."Now, I’m not ordinarily one to defend the honesty of the Dauphin, and perhaps for Mr. Day’s remedial benefit the President’s speechwriters should have tilted toward pedantry and pointed out that unrealistic is not the same as impossible and that "just not going to work" is an estimation of political and moral practicability as much as it is a judgment of logistical possibility.
Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.
But really, why grant even that. Vox Day isn’t just wrong in tone, he’s wrong in substance. It didn’t take the Germans 4 years to "rid themselves" of Jews.
The first concentration camps were set up in 1933. In April of 1933, there was a national boycott of Jewish businesses, and shortly thereafter Jews were officially banned from government jobs. In 1935, Jews were forbidden from military service, and then the so-called Nuremburg Laws were passed, including the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor" (forbidding intermarriage) and the "Reich Citizenship Law" which ended German citizenship for Jews. In the years that followed, Jews faced increasingly draconian legal impediments to careers and education. They were identified as Jews on all passports and other papers. Quite contrary to Vox Day’s absurd contention that they were "fully integrated into German society," it was the deliberate policy of the Third Reich to rescind, prevent, and subvert integration—a concerted, decade-long effort to segregate a population prior to the pogroms that inevitably followed.
More than that, the eventual attempt to exterminate European Jewry was not a domestic pogrom; extermination began by firing squad, with the Einsatzgruppen in Poland and elsewhere East. Of the millions of Jews killed, at least half were Polish, and many more were French, Czech, Austrian, Danish, Dutch . . . So unless our historically confused author is granting legitimacy to the Lebensraum . . . Draw your own conclusions.
It’s a pathological simplification and an act of gross projection. This fellow, Vox Day, imagines that the Führer got up one day, gave a speech, and the crematoria of Birkenau blossomed like flowers of ash. Then onto the trains, this way to the gas, into the mass graves. He wishes an American President would do the same (although he claims in this post, that he is not an advocate of such). Why, the "mere announcement of a massive deportation program would probably cause a third of that 12 million to depart for points south within a week."
Another speculative statistic of uncertain origin.
There are a lot of phony libertarians out there who imagine that liberty coexists with totalitarian efficiencies—that, for instance, a government respecting the individualistic prerogatives of libertarianisms can also undertake a pogrom of forced deportation for millions of people. Or perhaps they imagine a militarized totalitarian police state as the necessary precursor to the libertarian utopia in an amusingly unaware mirror image of Marx’s contention that capitalism was the natural antecedent to the socialist paradise. To steal a phrase from the Dauphin’s much-panned speech: it just isn’t going to work.
Vox confuses Hegel and Newton. Dear Vox, it is thesis-antithesis-synthesis; action-reaction is the third law of motion, the law of reciprocal action. One way or other, I'm not certain what to make of the contention that governments use this tool to enslave the minds of their proles, a non sequitur popped off in the penultimate paragraph.
Finally, he concludes that the minutemen are doing a bang-up job, proving once more that "unleashing the power of motivated private citizens is far more efficient than relying on government bureaucrats." Which prompts the question: why, then, does he care what the President says in the first place?
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
"We're gonna do sumthin bout immigration by doin sumthin bout immigration."
Monday, May 15, 2006
Clive Crook claims that J.K. Galbraith talks real purdy, but don't say much. Well, I'm not here to defend Galbraith, with whom I've plenty of disagreements of my own (though not, like a certain Professor of Lawyerin', with the idea that a man might be commended for prose alone . . . does he believe that Oscar "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" Wilde has been excessively praised for his . . . but I digress).
I find this curious, however:
Much of the Left still longs to sneer at the very idea of capitalism, especially at the claim that it has real ethical foundations (all the more so, in comparison with the attempted alternatives).Crook goes on to say, in essence, "Hey you guys, it's not a scam. It's totally, like, ethical! N' shit!"
It seems to me that the position of this chimerical left notwithstanding, we ought to be able to say, in paraphrase, "Yeah it's a scam, but it's our scam."
For several years, I posted on the Slate discussion boards, known collectively as the Fray. A nice community, for the most part, appendaged unfortunately to a publication whose callow contrarianism was first amusing and is now just embarrassing. Curiously, the arc of that newsmag has tracked closely to long-time Slate writer, Christopher Hitchens, who was once a bracingly abrasive neo-Trotskyite bomb-thrower gleefully unaware of his legion intellectual inadequacies, not the least of which was an almost ingenious capacity to misread George Orwell--not, like many ideologues of both left and right, out of intention, but rather out of the lazy self-certainty of a very smart and very lazy undergraduate overly fond of the keg-stand and other such pursuits. Hitchens is now just another of the myriad Anglo defenders of our American Dauphin (cf. John Derbyshire), which is to say a preening lexical trainwreck awash in a sea of ressentiments, real and (more often) imagined.
So I certainly got a big laugh out of this.
Which brings us to Hitchens' most recent offering, in which he assures us that the Iranians are, at heart, America-lovers, despite what their oh-so-unelected (sic) leaders say, and that George W. Bush should "[speak] directly to the Iranian people and the international community and [bypass] the wicked men who have run a noble country into a swamp of beggary, violence, crime, corruption, and disaster." This all has something to do with the fact that Iranians have cell phones and satellite dishes. The same could be said of California and New York, and that hasn't measurably improved the Dauphin's standing there, despite innumerable efforts at direct address, but nevermind. At the heart of Hitchens' article, though, is the old Anglo-Saxon, self-serious belief in Uplift, combined with the socialist's conviction that proles everywhere are, well, proles ready to rise up against their superiors, though not their Uplifting betters, of course. It is inconceivable to Hitchens that Iranians may simultaneously dislike their brutal rulers and their potential American occupiers, or whatever. Several times in the piece he notes that "we alone" can help them; for instance, "only the United States could help Iran to design some system of preparation against the seismic horror that impends and that will now be still more apocalyptic as it affects secret reactors and covert uranium-enrichment facilities in deep caverns." Except, perhaps, the Japanese, with whom the Iranians have quite cordial relations.
I am quite certain that I would not disapprove so fully of conservativism if it actually existed.
Amendment XVIII"Conservative Christians Criticize Republicans."
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
So reads the headline in today's Times. Their principle motivations? Same-sex marriage, obscenity, and abortion (see also, Failure to Adqueately Oppose).
Americans have Great Awakenings the way the French have Republics, which is to say quite often and quite haplessly. Every several decades, revivalist fervor rises from the backwater and sweeps into the general discourse. The United States becomes "A Christian Nation." The devil of the moment, whether liquor stills or metonymic Hollywood or Planned Parenthood, gets a good airing, and takes a good beating. Someone burns a wicker man. Someone speaks in tongues. Some politician promises to clean something up. It's a shamelessly self-repeating ritual, and although we should be wary of its occasional excesses, should we really be concerned about, in Kevin Phillip's words, an American Theocracy?
Richard Viguerie may have never seen anything like the "anger there is at the Republican leadership," but the overwhelming sense--admittedly in only a single newspaper article--is futility; perhaps impotence is even a better word. Dr. James C. Dobson, who advises that fathers take lots of naked showers with their sons in order to inculcate in their sons a totally manly but totally not-gay affection for hairy, sizeable penises, finds himself reduced hedged, deontically modal, conditional threats: if Republicans fail to deliver on conservative goals, then he may turn into a critic. Were that it were true, one might feel the GOP trembling with potential fear.
Self-professed "progressives", forever in a tizzy about their own electoral incapacities, are fond of pointing to the GOP's decades-long project to build conservative political dominance through the construction of an integrated politico-religio-media infrastructure. This is the narrative of conspiracy: a thousand points of action with semi-obscured linkages coordinated somewhere, somehow, by someone(s) identified by trait but not by name. Is it true?
It's true that Republicans have done a better job than Democrats at integrating their official party, their official party line, and their unofficial constituencies. But it's hardly true that they've constructed the electoral beheamoth whose implacability so-called liberals whine about constantly. Their regional majorities are sometimes strong, but their national majority is razor-thin, and it remains contingent on the exceedingly fickle and irrational support of the good-believin' folks who pledge allegience to Dr. Dobs et al. These people aren't possessed of the constitution for incrementalism. They operate in fits of moralizing incoherency--they make extravagent demands when "their" party acquires a majority, and when that party inevitably fails to deliver, or when their moral social policy flares and dies dramatically, as it must, they retreat from the political arena in a huff, returning to the business of personal salvation and other neo-Christianisms for twenty or thirty years until some new generation of desperate politicians comes pandering once again. The so-called influence of neo-Protestantism on President Bush and the current GOP has been principally rhetorical anyway, and now, as the inevitable backlash against the Dauphinate begins, and as the Dauphin and his ministers flail in the gathering winds, we can expect the nouveau theocrats to grow momentarily shriller and then to retreat.
Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.