Dies Irae, Dies Illa

  1. Revolutionaries, Reactionaries, Conservatives
  2. What does the nation need?
  3. 3 out of 3 cherry-picked commenters agree
  4. Wasted votes
  5. Who don’t I dislike?

1

We live in a reactionary age. Revolutionaries traffic in hope. They believe, and wish others to believe, that a radical break with the past is possible and that it will inaugurate a new era of human experience. Reactionaries believe that such a break has already occurred and has been disastrous …

Reactionaries are not conservatives. This is the first thing to be understood about them. Conservatives have always seen society as a kind of inheritance we receive and are responsible for. The healthiest way to bring about change, the conservative believes, is through consultation and slow transformations in custom and tradition, not by announcing bold reform programs or inventing supposedly inalienable individual rights. But the conservative is also reconciled to the fact that history never stands still and that we are only passing through. Conservatism seeks to instill the humble thought that history moves us forward, not the other way around. And that radical attempts to master it through sheer will bring disaster.

Reactionaries reject this conservative outlook. They are, in their way, just as radical as revolutionaries and just as destructive.

(Mark Lilla) I aspire to be conservative, but with so many revolutionaries manipulating the levers of power —  what, for instance, is the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage edict if not a revolutionary experiment? — reaction is tempting.

2

It is now routine for folks on the left to believe that the white Evangelical Protestant minority in our nation wants nothing more than to round up all the Mexicans, Muslims, and gays in America, and force them all into internment camps, and for folks on the right to believe that the college-educated agnostic minority in our nation wants nothing more than to round up all home-schooled children in America, and subject them to sex change operations. I’m sorry, my friends, but that’s nonsense, all of it. The government of the United States of America is suffering from several slow-motion catastrophes, in the form of congressional dysfunction, party insularity and corruption, executive overreach, meritocracy-driven divisiveness, and an addiction to kludgey work-around solutions that have little democratic legitimacy and even less rational sense. Neither Clinton nor Trump are the climax of these many bad developments; they’re both symptoms, that’s all.

What does the nation need? Well, Charles Marohn has put it well: “We will have a strong and prosperous nation only when we have strong cities, towns, and neighborhoods. That kind of prosperity cannot be imposed or engineered from the top; it must be built slowly from the ground up. Scale our economy to those working at the ground level and we will see a true prosperity emerge from the fear and acrimony that is our national dialog.” Which means, far more than the presidency, what I’m watching tomorrow is our state legislative and county commission races here in Kansas: because those are the people I, and everyone else involved in local politics, in citizen initiatives, in fights over food trucks and bike paths and school funding and all the rest, will need on our side, or at least will need to understand better when we oppose them.

(Russell Arben Fox at Front Porch Republic)

3

Rod Dreher ran some extended quotes of Michael Brendan Dougherty’s election eve jeremiad. Dreher’s comments are kept pretty troll-free, but I was thinking again and again “He/she doesn’t understand the idea of God’s judgment.”

For particular instance, those who thought “we brought this on ourselves” or some other “natural” explanation is a refutation of “God’s judgment” rather than complementary. (Sheesh! What do they teach these kids today?!)

Then I sez to myself “Self, do you really understand God’s judgment?”, to which my answer was “No, but I knows it when I sees it.”

Then I modified that: “Better a false positive than to miss it altogether. It’s always a good time to repent.”

Others’ comments:

  • “In our system everybody gets what the majority deserve.” Attributed to H.L. Mencken.
  • “[A] wicked prince is the Lord’s scourge to punish the sins of the people.” Attributed to John Calvin, Commentary on Romans 13: 3-4.
  • “Yes I too am feeling apocalyptic today facing tomorrow. I just cannot believe we as a people have been so stupid. I keep hearing “You shall reap what you sow.” Shelley

See? 3 out of 3 cherry-picked commenters agree it’s God’s judgment.

4

I see a silver lining. Even in early voting, the lines have been long. People may be disgusted with the top of the ticket, but not too disgusted to actually get out and vote — maybe, like me, third party at the top, virtually straight down ticket (to put a check on the evil who is projected to win), but voting, b’gosh.

Just remember as you vote, though, that a vote for Trump or Clinton is a wasted vote because it will tend, howsoever slightly, to elect Trump or Clinton.

5

It occurs to me that after all the vitriol I’ve poured on Trump and Clinton, and my disgust with negative ads in so many races for lower offices (Bayh/Young, Gregg/Holcolm), maybe it would be easier if I just told you what politicians I don’t dislike and might even trust a little.

So here goes:

  1. Justin Amash, I think.

Now go do your duty if you haven’t already.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

One thought on “Dies Irae, Dies Illa

  1. We do not put our trust in princes, or presidents, or members of Congress, or any mere human beings, in whom there is no salvation.

    Rather we pray: “Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance, granting to your faithful people victory over all their adversaries, and by the power of your Cross preserving your commonwealth.”

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