At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Republicans, Democrats, and White Men

posted by Jack Kerwick

Following their party’s crushing defeat at the polls, some Democratic strategists are now claiming that it is Democrats’ “failure to communicate” with white men that accounts for their dramatic reversal of fortunes.

In contrast, Republican talking heads insist upon either trivializing or entirely neglecting the pivotal role of white men in catapulting the GOP to victory.

Instead, Republicans have been as giddy as schoolgirls over the fact that Democrats received only two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, 90 percent of the black vote, and 51 percent of the Asian vote! Of course, it hasn’t been spun exactly this way, but the point remains the same: Even now, most nonwhites continue to pledge their allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Moreover, they continue to do so in numbers that aren’t appreciably higher—if they’re higher at all—from those in which they routinely endorse Democrats.

In the light of this election, the elephants no less than the donkeys need a reality check.

First, without white people generally and white heterosexual men specifically, a Republican politician would have as difficult a time getting elected dogcatcher as he would getting elected to any higher office. The Republican Party’s days as a major national party would come to a grinding halt.

White men make the world of the GOP go round.

While it is true that white men aren’t sufficient, they most certainly are necessary.

Secondly, Republicans should indeed try to make their message (whatever that is) heard as widely and clearly as they possibly can. However, given both the indispensability of whites to their political fortunes and the ease with which they attract these voters, it is wildly irrational for Republicans to spend precious resources reaching out to blacks and Hispanics who aren’t likely to vote for them when a fraction of those same resources could be directed toward achieving the infinitely less ambitious goal of garnering an ever larger share of the white vote. For instance, just a few percentage points worth of white voters would’ve made all of the difference for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Thirdly, those Democrats who lament their “failure” to communicate with white men are self-delusional. The party’s problem is that it has communicated all too well with white men.  For decades, its message to white men has been unmistakably clear: “Drop dead!”

In the leftist imagination of the Democrat Party, white men are the worse of the worst, the only beings in the cosmos capable of “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” and every other “ism” that belongs to our Politically Correct culture’s catalogue of crimes against humanity. Every policy aimed at ostensibly benefitting minorities, every protection and privilege denied to white men while extended to women and the members of every other racial demographic, expresses this view.

For white men, the Democratic Party has unmitigated contempt.

Finally, this being said, Republicans have been only slightly less contemptuous of white men than their counterparts have been.  Actually, in a significant sense, it’s arguable that they’ve been more contemptuous, for Republicans take their white voters for granted, in spite of having regularly advocated on behalf of legislation that has undermined the liberties for which white Americans—beginning with America’s founders—have fought long and hard.

And yet white men continue to vote Republican.

But, as the presidential election of 2012 taught us, when enough of those white men who would otherwise have voted Republican believe that their party is abetting its rival in waging a sort of racial and gender war by other means against them, they stay home.

And when this happens, then it won’t matter if Republicans raise their shares of the black and Hispanic votes by 1 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

When enough white Republican men avoid the polls, the GOP loses.

Why I Did Not Vote this Election Day

posted by Jack Kerwick

As I write this, it’s Election Day.

It is the first Election Day in 24 years that I haven’t voted.

Every election cycle, Republican operatives in the media—“conservative” talk radio hosts, Fox News pundits, and the like—insist to their audiences that a decision on their part to do anything other than vote Republican is a decision to vote for the Democratic Party.

Talk radio host and syndicated columnist Dennis Prager has even gone so far as to charge those Americans who refuse to vote Republican with essentially voting to further damage the country!

Let there be no mistakes about it: This line is as intellectually dishonest as it is morally idiotic.

For centuries and even millennia, the great ethical traditions of the ancient pagan, Jewish, and Christian worlds have been of one voice in affirming the essential role of intention in determining moral standing.  Roman Catholicism underscores this insight via its doctrine of “double-effect.”

According to double-effect, an action that would otherwise be forbidden may be permissible as long as its effects, though foreseen, are unintended. For example, Catholic morality unequivocally condemns euthanasia, the deliberate killing of a terminally ill patient.  Yet from this perspective, it is not immoral to withhold treatment from a terminal patient whose death is imminent and who has decided to forego further treatment that would only prolong his suffering.

The difference here is a difference in intention: A physician who euthanizes his patient intends the latter’s death.  In contrast, while a physician knows that the suspension of methods will hasten a terminal person’s life, he is not guilty of killing that person because this was never his intention: the patient’s death is foreseen, but it is not intended.

And it is this that is morally decisive.

That intention is essential to morality can be gotten easily enough from any number of examples. In driving your car, you know that you will (eventually) wear down your tires.  But you would not be irresponsible or reckless for this, for the erosion of your tires is a foreseen yet unavoidable and unintended consequence of driving your car.  Similarly, when you buy your Apple computer, you know that your decision will have the consequence of further enriching Bill Gates.  This, however, is not your intention.  Thus, you don’t deserve any credit (or blame) for serving Bill Gates’ interests.

The doctrine of double-effect is hardly without problems. But it does express an invaluable insight regarding the centrality of intention to any moral analysis.

The point here, though, is this: While I know that in not voting for the Republican candidate I am making it easier for his opponent(s) to prevail, the latter is an unintended outcome of my decision. In, say, refusing to vote for either Democrats or Republicans, my intention is to act in accordance with the dictates of my conscience, my moral convictions.  Unless one thinks that morality itself demands that all decent people vote whenever possible for Republican candidates, whomever they may be—unless voting Republican is like doing justice, or refraining from adultery and murder—then all that matters, morally, is that one’s actions conform to one’s conscience.

The idea that there is no difference between, on the one hand, a person who walks into a polling station and votes Democrat and, on the other, a person who simply refuses to vote Republican, can’t be taken seriously. It is like suggesting that there is no difference between a doctor who euthanizes a patient and one who, upon the terminal patient’s request, refrains from administering pain-prolonging treatments.

But let’s play along. It’s undeniably true that Barack Obama would have lost decisively to Mitt Romney in 2012 had those 4 million or so self-declared Republicans who decided against traveling out to the polling stations chosen otherwise.  GOP propagandists in “conservative” media and elsewhere doubtless blame this disenchanted mass for having practically voted for Obama.  Yet two can play at this game:

Had Republicans—like Mitt Romney—not spent so much of their careers insulting, condescending to, and betraying the more conservative and traditional minded that is the base of their party, then the latter wouldn’t have been disillusioned. If they wouldn’t have been disillusioned, then they would’ve come out in droves to vote for Romney.  And if this happened, then Romney would now be president.

So, for all practical purposes, Romney and his Big Government accomplices in the GOP have been busy for years casting their votes for Democrats by urinating all over traditional Republican voters.

 

 

 

 

Losing the Language: How the GOP Undermines Itself–and Liberty

posted by Jack Kerwick

As the mid-term elections approach, it’s high time for Republican commentators to walk the walk.

Just the other morning, Mark Steyn, busily promoting his new book, made an appearance on Bill Bennett’s radio program. The latter agreed enthusiastically with the former that in order for conservatives to prevail culturally, it is imperative for them to prevent the left from assuming control of the language.

Newsflash for Bill and Mark: That ship has long since sailed beyond the horizon.

From at least the time that neoconservatives came to dominate the Republican Party—and perhaps even earlier—so-called “conservatives” have been ceding the language to the left. This, in all fairness, may have not a little to do with the fact that, intellectually and ideologically, neoconservatives are the products of leftist traditions themselves.  But the point remains:

Courtesy of GOP-friendly commentators like Bennett and Steyn (and countless others), the left has achieved nothing less than a monopoly on our language.

Examples of this phenomenon are too plentiful to recount here, but a select list should suffice to make the point.

(1)GOP mouthpieces routinely decry “multiculturalism” while insisting that “we are all Americans,” and yet they never cease to describe, say, blacks and Hispanics as “African-Americans” and “Latino Americans,” respectively.

(2)While paying lip service to the need to secure America’s borders, so-called “conservatives” either advocate on behalf of “comprehensive immigration reform”—i.e. amnesty—or, if they do not explicitly call for this, they nonetheless tirelessly proclaim their support for legal immigration—regardless of the Third World from which it originates.

(3)In championing immigration, Republican media figures can be relied upon to echo the leftist mantra that “America is a nation of immigrants.” Few leftist sound bites are as idiotic as this one.  And few are as instrumental to the “fundamental transformation”—the destruction—of the country.

(4)GOP talking heads are just as ready to cry “racism” as are their leftist counterparts. Thus, they legitimize the Big Lie that (white) “racism” is an omnipresent threat to everything that Americans hold sacred.  But it isn’t just that this is a bold-faced lie; more so than any other device, it is a lie that the left has exploited in the service of facilitating its “progressive”—i.e. its socialist-totalitarian—agenda.

What’s even worse is that self-declared “conservatives” don’t just accuse those to their left of being the real “racists.”  They’re at least as eager to throw one another under the bus at the first sign that one of their own may have made a remark that could be construed as “racist.”

As for those to their right—libertarians and genuine or traditional conservatives—our “conservatives” reserve unmitigated contempt.

(5)What’s true of “racism” is no less true of “sexism”: neoconservative Republicans, far from debunking it, actually legitimize the notion that there is a “war” on women.

Just this week, Rick Santorum was a guest on Michael Medved’s radio show. Santorum’s rejoinder to the charge that Republicans war against women is a familiar one: It is actually the left, with its detestation of traditional sexual mores and avid support for abortion and the like, that really hates women.

Again, rather than mock or dismiss the language of the left, faux conservatives accept its terms.

(6) “Conservative” Republicans remain intent upon invoking the idiom of “rights” when discussing every moral issue—even though this idiom has long been the left’s preferred manner of speaking about morality. Leftists know well that abstractions like “human rights” are ready-made to grow government while coercing society into serving their agenda.

In accepting the idea of universal rights (whether they’re called “natural,” “moral,” or “human”), Republicans sanction the moral machinery underwriting the Big Government program of the left.

(7)Republicans ache for leaders in Washington behind whom they can rally.  However, the idea that politicians—government office-holders—should be leaders is a staple of leftist thought.  Just the firing of a few neurons goes some distance in seeing why this is so.

First, and most obviously, leaders are expected to, well, lead. But lead who, and lead where?  If politicians—those with a monopoly on both the authority to coerce the citizenry into doing their bidding as well as the power to insure that it does so—are expected to be leaders, then it is to some imagined political promised land or other that they are supposed to “lead” the rest of us.

What this in turn means, though, is that to be effective leaders, politicians must be visionaries, aggressive activists who compel citizens to part with their property, time, and maybe even their very lives in the service of fulfilling the leader’s plans for a better tomorrow.

In other words, there is no scheme that is more antithetical to individual liberty than one involving government office-holders who are leaders.

Second, if politicians are expected to be leaders, then the left is right and politics trump all other considerations.  Culture is secondary to politics.  Politics make the world go round, for all that is needed is that we elect real leaders.

These are just some examples of how “conservatives” have indeed relinquished the language to the left.

 

Political Correctness and Ebola

posted by Jack Kerwick

That there is a sensationalistic dimension to the Ebola coverage is something of which I have no doubt.

Sensationalizing events is what the media does best. There may even be a sense in which it can be said that sensationalism is intrinsic to mass media.  Sensationalism serves the interests of two groups of people: media personalities and the politicians with whom they collude.

Both the reputations and wallets of media figures are likely to inflate as long as they continue creating “news” that arrests the attention of citizens who find it increasingly difficult to attend to anything for very long.  And the politicians on whose behalf journalists and commentators advocate (in one way or another) are well served by the manufacturing of “crises.”  This, to be sure, is a bi-partisan phenomenon: Virtually every politician—particularly at the national level—agrees wholeheartedly with Rahm Emmanuel’s belief that a “good crisis” is something that must never be permitted to “go to waste.”

This being said, the fact remains that no more than a month or so ago, President Obama declared with all of the assuredness with which he prefaces all of his errors, that Ebola had basically no chance of making its way to American shores. And now that Obama has been proven wrong once more—and with such neck-breaking speed!—he not only refuses to concede having stuck his foot in his mouth; he has dug in more deeply, refusing to appropriate the most elementary measures, like a travel ban vis-à-vis such Ebola-ridden “hot zones” as Liberia, to protect Americans from this deadly disease.

There are reasons for this, ideological reasons, that shouldn’t be lost upon us.  Yet lest we misunderstand, it must be noted that the ideology supplying the conceptual lenses through which Obama and his fellow partisans view this phenomenon (and every other) is, to a not insignificant extent, shared by many of his Republican opponents.

For the sake of simplicity, we can call it “Political Correctness” (PC).

That’s right: for all of their bellyaching against PC, GOP politicians and their mouthpieces in much of the so-called “conservative” media have imbibed hook, line, and sinker this leftist claptrap.

First, Ebola originates in Africa. Thus, a travel ban would adversely impact blacks who desire a better life in America.  But for a (still) predominantly white country, especially a superpower like the United States, to do anything, for any reason, that could be so much as remotely construed as harming blacks sounds suspiciously like “racism.”

Beyond this, courtesy of the pernicious (to say nothing of idiotic) doctrine of “disparate impact” that, in one way or another, has long been exploited by “liberals,” “conservatives,” and “libertarians” for ideological and political purposes, the very fact that there is an “unequal” distribution of Ebola among Americans and Africans, whites and blacks, may be read as implicating white Americans as the actual culprits!

And if we denied just these poor, disease-ridden Africans entry into America, wouldn’t we be guilty of engaging in the “racist” practice of “profiling?”  Or, what’s infinitely worst, wouldn’t we be guilty of “segregating” ourselves off from these people of color?  Why, from this vantage point, the imposition of a travel ban would make Bull Connors of us all!

Secondly, to restrict immigration in this respect is to imply that we could restrict it in all respects. In other words, something like a travel ban on flights from West Africa speaks not just to the issue of “racism” toward blacks, but to the issue of immigration as well.

Of course, considering that the overwhelming majority of immigrants that has been flooding the country since the middle of the 1960’s consist of non-whites from the Third World, immigration has become a race-related issue. Yet it is precisely because of this fact that it is enthusiastically welcomed by those—like our esteemed President—who regard America’s historical white majority as a cause for lamentation.

The absolute last thing that immigration enthusiasts want to do is to show Americans that immigration can be halted.

Make no mistakes: the PC Zeitgeist regarding “racism” and immigration compose the paradigm through which the Ebola “crisis” is being approached.

But there is another prevalent idea that also serves to impede our efforts to deal sensibly with Ebola carriers from the Dark Continent.

This is the idea that America is not a historical country, but, well, an idea, a universal concept or ideal.

Here’s the problem: ideas do not—because they cannot—have borders.

An idea is an immaterial or incorporeal entity, and as the Christian philosopher Boethius once noted, it is self-evident that “incorporeal things cannot exist in a place.

If America is an idea, then Americans are citizens of the world. This in turn means that all of the world’s citizens who affirm “the idea” that is America are Americans.

Borders, then, to say nothing of—horror of horrors!—bans, are egregious.

As we watch the national debate over the topic of Ebola unfold, we should bear in mind that the forgoing constitutes the framework within which it transpires—even if no one will admit, or maybe even notice, it.

Previous Posts

Republicans, Democrats, and White Men
Following their party’s crushing defeat at the polls, some Democratic strategists are now claiming that it is Democrats’ “failure to communicate” with white men that accounts for their dramatic reversal of fortunes. In contrast, Republican talking heads insist upon either trivializing or

posted 9:20:56pm Nov. 07, 2014 | read full post »

Why I Did Not Vote this Election Day
As I write this, it’s Election Day. It is the first Election Day in 24 years that I haven’t voted. Every election cycle, Republican operatives in the media—“conservative” talk radio hosts, Fox News pundits, and the like—insist to their audiences that a decision on their part to do

posted 9:47:14pm Nov. 04, 2014 | read full post »

Losing the Language: How the GOP Undermines Itself--and Liberty
As the mid-term elections approach, it’s high time for Republican commentators to walk the walk. Just the other morning, Mark Steyn, busily promoting his new book, made an appearance on Bill Bennett’s radio program. The latter agreed enthusiastically with the former that in order for conserva

posted 10:16:04pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Political Correctness and Ebola
That there is a sensationalistic dimension to the Ebola coverage is something of which I have no doubt. Sensationalizing events is what the media does best. There may even be a sense in which it can be said that sensationalism is intrinsic to mass media.  Sensationalism serves the interests of t

posted 10:26:30pm Oct. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Capital Punishment Revisited
For a discussion of capital punishment, with no thinker is there a better place to begin than Ernest van den Haag. It is with justice that the latter’s seminal analysis of this topic is a staple of textbooks in college ethics courses nationwide: the author addresses the thicket of issues that are

posted 9:11:40am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »


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