Saturday 7/29/17

  1. The insatiable thirst for justice
  2. Why Democrats abandon their party
  3. Democrats’ meek and noiseless retreat
  4. A week unlike any other
  5. Why faithful Catholics Christians are politically homeless
  6. “Opinions differ”
  7. Faux faith & foe’s faux fury
  8. Anniversaries

1

Justice is an insatiable goal. Nothing can ever be fair enough, equal enough, right enough. Real or imagined, injustice remains and will remain until God alone makes it otherwise. In the modern world, the pendulum swings. Revolutions destroy empires and eradicate oppressors, always replacing them with new empires and new faces of oppression. Every swing of the pendulum seems to leave justice at a remove.

Christ said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation…. the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21). It is only with the apprehension of the inner Kingdom that human beings can be made to understand just how difficult the Kingdom’s coming truly is. If I can’t bring forth the Kingdom within my own heart, surely I shouldn’t imagine that by some act of force or law I could bring it forth within the larger world.

(Fr. Stephen Freeman)

2

Democrat operative Ted Van Dyke tries to talk some sense into his party:

Three statements in recent years illustrate why former Democratic voters have abandoned their party. First, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign remark that small-town Americans “cling to guns and religion.” Second, Michelle Obama’s statement, also in 2008, that “for the first time in my adult lifetime I am proud of my country.” Third, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 characterization of Trump supporters as “deplorables”: “They are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

The Democratic voter exodus began in 1968 when millions of traditional blue-collar and middle-income voters moved to Republican Richard Nixon or third-party candidate George Wallace, a Democratic former governor of Alabama. Alienated by street and campus riots and disorder, these voters bought into the Nixon/Wallace law-and-order themes. Some also were attracted to their message that Great Society programs had overreached.

The shift, and the margin of Democratic loss, became far more dramatic in 1972. I was policy and platform director for George McGovern’s campaign. Our organizers and convention delegates were mostly from the generation that had come of age during the 1968 protests. They opposed the Vietnam War. But they were mostly interested in cultural and lifestyle issues—“acid, amnesty and abortion,” as Republicans called them, picking up a line that turned out to have originated with McGovern’s first running mate, Sen. Thomas Eagleton. Those Democrats gave short shrift to jobs, economic growth, public safety and other traditional voter concerns.

Their successors in the party have continued to focus on cultural issues with limited appeal. Their focus on political correctness and conformity has left an impression on traditional Democrats that their party leaders care more about transgender bathroom access than employment, the cost of living, education or public safety. Mrs. Clinton’s “deplorables” reference struck home with these voters.

Mind you, I’ve never considered myself a Democrat (I also mentally checked out from the GOP in 2005; since my state doesn’t register voters by Party, checking out mentally and noisily is the best one can do). But apart from the suggestion that it started in 1968, I’m in substantial agreement with Van Dyke. (Don’t overlook Al Gore’s hectoring tones, either.)

I assume that there’s some sophisticated number-crunching going on leading to conclusions like “Democrats can’t afford to lose the intersex dwarf vote.” The GOP probably figures it can’t lose notional Evangelicals who attend Church roughly quarterly and live lives characterized more by resentment than by faith.

At the risk of sounding like the Mad Twitter King, “Sad.”

3

It has been 10 days since Democrats received the glorious news that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley would require Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to explain their meeting with Russian operators at Trump Tower last year. The left was salivating at the prospect of watching two Trump insiders being grilled about Russian “collusion” under the klieg lights.

Yet Democrats now have meekly and noiselessly retreated, agreeing to let both men speak to the committee in private. Why would they so suddenly be willing to let go of this moment of political opportunity?

Fusion GPS. That’s the oppo-research outfit behind the infamous and discredited “Trump dossier,” ginned up by a former British spook. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson also was supposed to testify at the Grassley hearing, where he might have been asked in public to reveal who hired him to put together the hit job on Mr. Trump, which was based largely on anonymous Russian sources. Turns out Democrats are willing to give up just about anything—including their Manafort moment—to protect Mr. Simpson from having to answer that question.

What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility.

(Kimberly Strassel) This is well worth reading in full if you can.

4

[S]urely this week must mark some kind of moment in this vertiginous descent, some point at which the manifest unfitness of this president to continue in office becomes impossible to deny.

Compare it with any other week in modern political history. Day after day, the president has publicly savaged his own attorney general for doing the only thing possible with an investigation into a political campaign he was a key part of: recusing himself. And the point of the president’s fulminations was that the recusal prevented Sessions from obstructing that very investigation. The president, in other words, has been openly attacking his own attorney general for not subverting the rule of law.

(Andrew Sullivan) I thought that perhaps his attacks of the attorney general, plus his blame-gaming on the failure to repeal ACA, plus his Boy Scouts rant, plus his chaos-creating Transgender tweets, plus him and the Mooch setting staff in bitter opposition to one another just might rouse a nice case for 25th Amendment removal behind which his cabinet could unite.

And now he has dumped Reince Priebus — or should I say “But now he has dumped Reince Priebus”? In this back-stabbing reality-TV atmosphere, who dares first broach the 25th amendment? The President is by terror not governing, but preventing his removal for patent incapacity to discharge the duties of his office. Time for someone to man up and put the country first.

Heck, maybe that someone was Priebus.

5

I have recently voiced my hesitation about calling health care a “right,” but this is a term Pope John XXIII used in his 1963 encyclical Pacem in terris (“Peace on Earth”):

Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of illhealth; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

Matthew Walther takes those “rights” without asking for even a grain of disambiguation, and proceeds in his explanation of Why Catholics are politically homeless:

You would be hard pressed to name a single Republican politician, Catholic or otherwise, who would unconditionally give assent to these articles. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has explicitly dismissed the notion of a right to health care as tantamount to slavery. It is possible to have prudential disagreements about how these rights are to be honored — single-payer, for example, is only one possible (though probably, I think, the most straightforward and workable) response to the question of how to ensure that people receive medical care. But to deny that these rights exist in keeping with libertarian principles about positive liberty is to pretend that the church has no right to inform the consciences of the faithful.

Young faithful Catholics who have come of age not during the Cold War but during the Great Recession recognize that tyranny comes in many forms, and that one of them is a corporate logo decked out in rainbow colors whose stock price and rights to exploit the poor of the developed world are backed by a drone army answerable to no one’s authority but that of the president. They find themselves asked to choose not between communism and some theoretically just capitalism, but capitalism whose only aims seem to be profits, spoliation of the natural world, alienation of the poor from their dignity, and the promotion of vice.

Corporations are not Catholics’ friends, and their bottom lines are none of our concern; abstract principles cherished by those who were Catholics’ allies against atheist totalitarianism are not Catholics’ principles ….

I cut out a snarky comment about Protestantism partly because I don’t see any substantive daylight between this and Protestant Jake Meador‘s motivation.

6

I like @charlesmurray‘s self-deprecating description on Twitter: “Husband, father, social scientist, writer, Madisonian. Or maybe right-wing ideologue, pseudoscientist, evil. Opinions differ.”

7

Congressman Todd Rokita, who wants Senator Joe Donnelly’s seat in 2018, said something vaguely religious about God’s will in natural disasters like tornados. Enemies seized that as tantamount to opining that Kokomo’s tornados were a judgment on Kokomo. Rokita made the political non-responsive response that most Hoosiers believe in providence.

And so it goes. I’m equally unimpressed by Rokita’s faux faith and his foes’ faux fury.

I don’t know if Rokita’s enemies are operatives of Rep. Luke Messer, who also wants Donnelly’s seat, or whether they’re Democrats. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for Rokita, since I caught him uttering a blatant lie in his first campaign for Congress and that look on his face always seems to partake of smirk, as in “Boy do I have 51%+ of these folks totally snowed!”

The GOP is dividing in these early days of the race, some commending Rokita as having been unequivocally for Trump. I can think of no greater condemnation (well, maybe that blatant lie and that smirk), so I tend to lean Messer, aware that the American Solidarity Party is unlikely to have a contested primary slate. (Yes, I’m likely to return to my vomit at least for the primary in ’18. And I really don’t vote to sabotage my former party.)

8

July 29 marks the something-or-otherth anniversary of the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the 52nd anniversary of my close encounter of the motorcycle-hits-automobile kind (the latter explaining why I remember the former, the concussion and broken jaw having left no residual incapacities).

I wouldn’t mind if we could add a Presidential resignation to that list this year, but since he’s now got the perfect team of perfectly loyal sycophants (other than that damned Jeff Sessions), I suppose that’s a pipe dream. Maybe next week when everyone’s gone all treacherous on him again. (What is wrong with all these people?!)

* * * * *

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.