It was a dark and bitter blog … 3/1/14

    1. Nothing anti-gay about Arizona’s anti-gay bill
    2. Take The Pledge
    3. Gridlock only in the the “Shallow State”
    4. Pro Tip for Nouveau War Memorials

1

It was jarring to read the coverage of the new “anti-gay bill” passed by the Arizona Legislature and then look up the text of the instantly notorious SB 1062. The bill was roughly 998 pages shorter than much of legislation that passes in Washington, so reading it didn’t take much of a commitment. Clocking in at barely two pages, it was easy to scan for disparaging references to homosexuality, for veiled references to homosexuality, for any references to homosexuality at all.

They weren’t there. A headline from The Week declared, “There is nothing Christian about Arizona’s anti-gay bill.” It would be more accurate to say that there was nothing anti-gay about Arizona’s anti-gay bill.

The legislation consisted of minor clarifications of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been on the books for 15 years and is modeled on the federal act that passed with big bipartisan majorities in the 1990s and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Arizona was going to lose the Super Bowl over this? Maybe so. Gov. Jan Brewer took no chances and vetoed it Wednesday. The bill was the subject of a truly awe-inspiring tsunami of poorly informed indignation.

(Rich Lowry, who you’ll not see quoted here often)

Someone suggested [UPDATE: It was Marc DeGirolami] that what the Arizona kerfuffle really disclosed is that RFRA itself, not just clarifying amendment, is unpopular, and that our business elites (remember, media is a business, not a public service) don’t think there should be any religious exemption from any law ever.

2

Repeat after me: “Business interests are the enemies of religious freedom, the family, and sanity. Marx was right about some of his critique. I will never, ever again allow myself to be suckered into thinking that capitalism is conservative.”

If you think the Arizona story isn’t enough to justify such a generalization, remember Jeremy Beers’ discussion of William Leach and the Culture of Consumer Capitalism. And that’s the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Business interests are largely behind demise of the “Family Wage,” too.

Sometimes it takes a radical to see the true nature of the thing. There is no more revolutionary force in the world than capitalism. If this story from Arizona, and the role that corporate America has played and is playing in destroying traditional Christian social morality, doesn’t reveal to social and religious conservatives the pathetic naivete of believing that the interests of capitalism align with the interests of Christianity, then they are simply ineducable fools.

In modern times, the Republican Party has been composed of a fusion of social conservatives, businessmen, and defense hawks. Social conservatives are the useful idiots in this troika. The problem is, there’s nowhere for us to go, politically, so our leaders and those they lead see no alternative to behaving like the beaten wife. We bark, but both the Republican and the Democratic trains in the progressivist caravan move on.

(Rod Dreher, emphasis added)

3

The common narrative of the last five years, and on a superficial level it’s right, is that government is broken. It’s dysfunctional. It’s gridlocked. Well, that’s true. And that is the visible the government, the constitutional government we learn about in Civics 101. And it is gridlocked.

But somehow, Obama can go into Libya. He can assassinate US citizens. He can collect all our phone records without a buy or a leave from anyone. He can even bring down a jet carrying a president of a sovereign country without asking anyone’s permission. And no one seems to connect the two, the failure of our visible constitutional state and this other government that operates according to no constitutional rules or any constraint by the governed.

According to Fang, many large corporations with a strong incentive to influence public policy give executives bonuses and other incentive pay if they take jobs within the government. Among them: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, the Blackstone Group, Fannie Mae, Northern Trust. Citigroup even provides an executive contract that awards additional retirement pay upon leaving to take a “full time high level position with the US government or regulatory body.” I’m not making this up. You get a bigger incentive if you leave Wall Street to go regulate Wall Street. So it is the fox is groomed for the chicken coop, and the Deep State grows fat on its prey.

(From a recent Bill Moyers interview, primarily focusing on the insights of Mike Lofgren into “The Deep State.”)

 Oh, yeah: H/T Rod Dreher. Dreher concludes:

This can’t last. We’d better hope it can’t last. And we’d better hope it unwinds peacefully.

I, for one, remain glad that so many of us Americans are armed. When the Deep State collapses — and it will one day — it’s not going to be a happy time.

Questions to the room: Is a Gorbachev for the Deep State conceivable? That is, could you foresee a political leader emerging who could unwind the ideology and apparatus of the Deep State, and not only survive, but succeed? Or is it impossible for the Deep State to allow such a figure to thrive? Or is the Deep State, like the Soviet system Gorbachev failed to reform, too entrenched and too far gone to reform itself? If so, what then?

The disparate supposed cranks and crackpots, like Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul, in their opposition to Wall Street and Militarism, respectively, are looking better and better all the time.

4

Pro tip to the City of Elsinor, CA: Maybe it would be okay to have the figure of the soldier kneeling before a suction curette… and a plastic cake-top figurine of two men in tuxedos holding hands. That’s what our troops are fighting and dying for in Afghanistan now, right?

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.