Friday, February 17, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
There is an extraordinary line in Santorum's stump speech in which he says--I am paraphrasing, but barely--that if you remove the godly pillar from the house of state, you end up with the French Revolution, and if you remove the positive guarantee of inalienable rights, you end up with the guillotine! I suppose this is a very shocking and funny misunderestimation of history, although in a certain way it echoes a long-standing worry of America's ruling class--I mean, peeps much brighter than Santorum, for sure. L'esprit de '89 always troubled our own aristocratic republic, since it potentially augured an alternate-universe ending to America's picaresque quote-unquote revolution. Not that it stuck in France even. Well, anyway, it's interesting to see the salt-of-the-earth, Christian candidate warning that the sitting government of the United States is planning to subvert itself in favor of some kind of comité de salut public in order to . . . and here is where the logic gets interesting . . . in order to enact a sort of totalitarian dictatorship whereby rights become mere government guarantees rather than inalienable, god-granted . . . but now of course, uh mean, obviously, rights are government guarantees; or government limited warranties, more like it, when you think about it. You can say all you like that the First Amendment, for instance, prohibits The Man from restricting the right to speechify and assemble, but, leaving aside the fact that the government restricts these rights all the time and in an almost infinite variety of legal and coercive measures, the application of this right is very plainly a matter of the government allowing something, not of the government being disallowed.
Even taking very seriously the very silly idea of the Christian God, the idea that His Trifection grants political rights, like, that Jesus and the Gang dreamed up "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" is pretty absurd. Oh, yeah, you know, in between redeeming all mankind and whatnot, Jizzle is real interested in obscure matters of 18th-century Anglosaxon constitutionalism. Sure he is. The thing is: inalienable rights get alienated all the damn time; unabridgeable privileges are cut to cliffs notes every second. So it God guarantees these things, he's not exactly doing a bang-up job. Maybe we should have gotten the undercarriage protection plan when we bought the thing . . . And of course, what's really interesting here is that this Beneficent Deity who dreamed up these political rights and beamed them into John Locke's head with a pink laser, not only can This Guy not prevent the rights from being abridged, he can't even prevent His Selfness from being cut right out of society. By Obama! I mean, so, like, God is the guarantor of our inalienable rights; without his EnergyStar seal of approval, they evaporate like a Bourbon's blood on a hot paving stone; yet any schmoe with a 4-year term and a divided Congress can give him a pink slip?
Still, I kind of like Santorum. He is not a smart man, but he's an earnest one. His head is full of nonsense, but it is such charmingly sincere nonsense. His family seems positively miserable in that peculiar manner of believing Christians who so often mistake their deep well of personal sadness for something very much resembling joy. As insanely bellicose as he sounds, he very much reminds me of Carter--I suspect his presidency would contain several very small and very forgettable wars, which beats the American average for the last half-century at least; it would last one term; in his postpresidential Arcadia, he would devote himself to some banal but untroublesome charity: a chain of thrift stores, perhaps, or the Animal Friends.
Monday, February 13, 2012
I have noticed a distinctive tut-tutting beat emanating from the lofty lefty backline--beware the black bloc, whatever that is. The formulation is telling:
By renouncing violence against persons or property, Occupy would enhance its appeal to the disabled and people of color, who have good reason to stay away from volatile confrontations. By isolating those who seize the spotlight by smashing things, it can prevent them from trampling the ethos of a brilliantly leaderless movement.Did you notice that neat pirouette from persons to property, from volatile confrontations (oh my!) to the smashing of mere things. Lemme axe you: how does a movement with an ethos of occupation not enact violence against property?