Monday, July 16, 2018

Dateline: August 1944

Prior to President Roosevelt meeting with Soviet premier Josef Stalin, Senate Republican Hamilton Fish has one request to make of the President.  "We all know about President Roosevelt's cozy relationship with Premier Stalin.  To protect the nation from his giving away the store to Stalin, I must insist that at no point must President Roosevelt be allowed to meet with Stalin one-on-one.  There must always be other Americans in the room with the President and Premier Stalin."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Idiocracy

       The current debate over Brett Kavanaugh shows the terrible state of conservative opinion.  Last night, Estase was watching the Joe Pags show on Newsmax, when a caller voiced his opposition to Kavanaugh because he was "part of the Bush/Cheney/Obama swamp."  Brilliant.  First of all, that swamp term needs to die.  Now.  Second, what in Hell does GWB and Dick Cheney have to do with Barack Obama?
       This banal crap about how Orange Blatherskite is the man who is supposed to purify the corrupt Washington D.C. system was never true, nor will it ever be true.  The provenance of the "swamp" term is from Bela Pelosi, who used it against GWB and Congressional Republicans.  Why people on the right think this should be their terminology now escapes me.  O.B. making attacks on George H.W. Bush strikes me of more of this pretended purity, from the purveyor of strip clubs and casinos.  The character who has a problem with Kavanaugh is just another dime-store Mark Levin, offering opinions about things he doesn't even understand.
         Another genius whose brilliance graced Facebook called George F. Will "a left-wing weenie."  Yeah, just like that other left-wing weenie, William F. Buckley.  Trump didn't just win the nomination by stupid primary voters;  his success has made stupidity the desired characteristic of "conservative" political commentary.   Things like crudeness and refusal to acknowledge facts used to be what Estase hated about left-wingers.  Now, the age of Trump has made them things he sees on the right.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Switcheroo Theories, Real and Imagined

       Polar shifts in politics only occur when extreme changes in the practice of politics make the foundational principles of the party outdated.
       The actual switcheroo came in Nineteenth-Century Britain, where Benjamin Disraeli turned Toryism from an ideology that gave unlimited power to the Crown into a Conservative party.  Eighteenth-Century Tories were unremittingly hostile to commercial life, and considered landed gentry the only fit wealthy.  Disraeli romanticized pre-Reformation England, and had Charles I in his pantheon of Tory saints.  Old Tory ideology was about King over Parliament;  new Tory ideology was a rejection of Utilitarian attempts at utopia.
       The imaginary switcheroo came in Nineteenth or Twentieth-Century America.  The Republican Party, after opposing extension of slavery, the Dred Scott decision that black people were farm animals, and secession, supposedly changed place with the pro-slavery Democratic Party.  Perhaps it was after Charles Sumner authored the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.  It must have been after a Democratic president thought "Birth of a Nation" was a great film, and re-segregated the military.  As a matter of fact, black Americans were reliably Republican until FDR's presidency.
       Unlike the actual switcheroo, there was a genuine political change that caused Toryism to become Conservative (and Whig to become Labour).  The Reform Act of 1835 made more Britons entitled to vote.  This, combined with post-1688 Parliamentary ascendency made the Toryism of Henry St. John and Jonathan Swift an antique curiosity.  Republican ideology, being a continuation of old Federalist principles, has never been obsolete.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Left-Wing Philistines

       A few months ago, I did a post called "Right Wing Philistines."  In the interest of equal treatment, Estase will explore the similar liberals.  
       Left-wing Philistines think the solution to every problem is a new scheme for redistributing wealth.  The Bernie Sanders types are unconcerned with any issue save the fact that some people have money, and they don't.  Where Right-wing Philistines want lower taxes, Left-wing Philistines hate wealth and those who have it.  All their posturing about the 1% is like some Carlyle stereotype of the French Revolution.  These cultural Marxists are the new heart and soul of the Democratic Party.  Much of this arises from the fact that twenty-somethings are ignorant of the horrors that Soviet Russia and Maoist China wreaked upon the people of those countries.
       Extreme leftists hold equality as a higher value than liberty;  they would rather everyone suffer extreme poverty (like Venezuela) than live in a system where people on the top support those at the bottom.  Thus, the Left-wing Philistine might be compared to the proverbial story of killing the goose that laid golden eggs.                                                                          

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Robin Hood: Genesis of a Whig Myth" Revisited

       People with a legal degree usually assume they are an expert on everything.  Mark Levin, on his radio show, opined that Robin Hood was somehow Marxist, as he (as Levin saw it) took from the rich and gave to the poor.  Levin seems unaware of British political history, and took no note of the context of the myth.
       The villains in Robin Hood are the landed gentry, the Church and the Sheriff of Nottingham.  In the story, they are responsible for living high of the hog while the common people lived in poverty.
         In eighteenth century Britain, Tories were the defenders of the landed gentry, the Church of England, and were known for calling the emerging commercial class thieves.  The respectable way for people to be wealthy was the ownership of large amounts of land;  this, of course, was not open to the vast majority of Britons.  To the consternation of this commercial class, the Tory intelligentsia ( Jonathan Swift et al) considered traders and artisans thieves and riff-raff.
           Mr. Levin's theory that Robin Hood is Marxist ignores the opproprium that Torys attached to commercial life, and seems to ignore the fact that landed gentry are not necessarily the equivalent to rich Americans.  Rich Americans have no genealogical entitlement to their wealth.  Being born poor does not mean staying poor in America.  Becoming a businessman never meant being treated like a criminal (except on MSNBC!).  Thus, unlike eighteenth century Britons, we would not see despoiling rich people as tit for tat the way Whigs did at that time.  So, unless Mr. Levin is among those who see eighteenth century Whigs as the predecessors of Karl Marx ( and there are, admittedly, such people) he should recognize Robin Hood as a fantasy for commercial people sick of being treated like criminals for their efforts.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bonfire of the Stereotypes

       The trinity of secondary liberal evils is racism, sexism and homophobia.  Anything perceived as violating this trinity is pure evil, and must be eradicated.
        The Simpsons is a left-leaning animated comedy that has been on TV since the late 1980s.  Based entirely on stereotypical characters, it is television's longest running series.  The main character is Homer Simpson, a stereotypical fat dullard.  His boss is Montgomery Burns, a stereotypical evil rich person modeled on John D. Rockefeller.  The family doctor is based on Cliff Huxtable, the main character from The Cosby Show.  Simpson's neighbors are the Flanders, a negative stereotype of Christians.  His bartender is Moe Syzlak, a stereotype lowlife.  Recurring in the show is a batch of illiterate hillbillies.  In short, The Simpsons is based on stereotypical characters.
        After years of lambasting rich people, nuclear power, children's TV, Christians, rural people, ad nauseum, suddenly the left hates the stereotypical Indian character Apu, who runs Springfield's convenience store.  Proving one thing:  stereotypical comedy is only funny when applied to groups the left is allowed to mock!  Comedy Central has created an entire industry ridiculing the right, with a gallery of faux Fox News hosts whose entire schtick is how stupid Republicans are.  Saturday Night Live stopped being funny when Tina Fey turned it into a broadcast-TV version of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.  For the left (and this includes the people who make The Simpsons, which includes leftist commentator Harry Shearer), comedy is politics conducted through other means.  Depicting Republicans as meeting in a spooky castle from Frankenstein is funny;  thirty years in, they decide that an Indian running a convenience store is hopelessly racist.  One can only laugh at rich people, fat people, stupid people, etc.  This is part of the politicization of comedy.  
       While I'm on a tear, I'd like to point out another thing the show did that Estase was deeply offended by.  Ned Flanders in one episode shows his sons a cartoon about blowing up an abortion clinic.  Nobody complained to the network about stereotyping Christians and pro-lifers in this way.  Hank Azaria never beat his breast in contrition about that skit.  Because any offensive stereotype that is aimed at the right is acceptable and funny, and any stereotype that isn't aimed at the right is offensive and racist.  I shudder to think what these modern comedy mavens would make of the Marx Brothers, whose comedy included send-ups of Jewish opera stars, Jewish doctors, the medical profession, etc.  Mel Brooks would find it impossible to make most of his films given the repressive pseudomorality that prevails today.