Revealed Truth

Visit this site for verifiably accurate opinions on all things political - in contradistinction to the INcorrect opinions you are likely to find elsewhere. I'm an American Libertarian Nationalist Republican. Ponder that one a while. Almost all are welcome, but at the request of management: no vegetarians or soccer fans, please. We have our reasons. Thank you and welcome to: Revealed Truth.

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Saturday, May 10, 2003

Compassionate Condescension

I quite often read an article and become enthused by the way the author has made a particular point with which I vigorously agree. In such cases, I often bring the article to the attention of readers of this blog.

Less often, but often enough, I read an article that makes a point I hadn't thought of, with which I also enthusiatically agree. This I almost always try to bring to the attention of my readers.

But I don't know if I've read a piece with an effect exactly like this one by John Derbyshire on National Review Online. This brilliant analysis expresses a point of view I've held for some time - without really knowing it. Derbyshire ponders the question "What kind of conservatives are we?" By "we," he means the NRO types.

Derbyshire concludes that he's a "Metropolitan Conservative." That's less illuminating, though, than the process by which he arrives at this conclusion.

Like Derbyshire, I'm not very religious - but I am passionate about defending the so-called "Religious Right" against the slanders and indignities against which it must regularly battle. And I'm not a Southerner, but I'm a strong supporter of those who fight for the Confederate flag. I know there's no contradiction here, but I've always wondered at some level why these issues strike me as so important. Well, Derbyshire nails it, and the shoe fits me, too, so I'll wear it. Here's a particularly powerful section:

"....Most of us, in temperament and outlook, are either metropolitan or provincial, either blue or red. I myself was raised in a small provincial town, but I have spent most of my adult life in big cities or their shadows, and have a mostly metropolitan cast of mind. I dislike modern American liberalism very much, and believe it to be poisonous and destructive; yet I am at ease in a roomful of New York liberals in a way that, to be truthful about it, I am not in a gathering of red-state evangelicals. Setting aside our actual opinions about this, that or the other, I am aware that in the first gathering I am among people with whom I have, at some level, a shared outlook; and in the second gathering, not. I suppose I would have been more at ease among the wits and boulevardiers of first-century Rome than with the dusty Hellenized provincial intellectuals of Judea.

"I'd even go further into this dangerous territory — and I emphasize I am speaking strictly for myself here, not for anyone else at NR. We conservatives like to scoff at lefties for their "noble savage" fixation — the way they go all misty-eyed and paternalistic at the thought of the poor helpless victims of capitalism, racism, colonialism, etc. etc. Well, I think I can see some similar strain of condescension in my own outlook. What the heroic worker was to an old-line Marxist, what the suffering Negro was to civil-rights marchers, what the unfulfilled housewife is to Hillary Clinton, the Vietnamese peasant to Jane Fonda, the Palestinian rioter to Edward Said, so the red-state conservative with his Bible, his hunting rifle and his sodomy laws is to me. He is authentic, in a way I am not.

"There doesn't seem to be much point in apologizing for this condescension, and I am not much given to apologizing anyway. It's worth noting, though, as a fixed component of, I think, the entire outlook of metropolitan conservatives. I don't think it is any cause for rancor or antagonism. The metropolitan conservative and his provincial cousin both have their part to play in keeping what Sir Kenneth called 'the balance of ends and means.' Sitting in New York cooking up argumentative commentaries is as useful, in its own way, as running a Christian home-schooling group in Knoxville.

"Probably not as critical to the future of conservatism, though. Looking across the pond at the country of my birth, where there are no powerful conservative lobbies — no Second Amendment warriors, no Christian conservatives, no Right-to-Life chapters — I see what happens when conservatism becomes a merely metropolitan cult: conservative politics becomes marginalized and impotent. That's not going to happen here; and it won't be me and my big city pals that prevent it, it'll be the legions of real, authentic conservatives out there in the provinces. God bless them all for keeping America strong, free, and true to her founding principles. If the price to be paid is a sodomy law here, a high-school Creationism class there, well, far as I am concerned, that's a small price indeed. People who don't like those things can always head for the metropolis, after all

That last paragraph strikes me as especially good in that it explains why even the UK, which has a "Conservative party" after all, has never really had a conservative movement. Indeed I wonder if there is another country that has had such a movement. Part of our situation in the U.S. is just a fortunate historical artifact, I think. Europe was too far gone by the time Hayek, Von Mises, Rand, Friedman, and Bill Buckley began laying the groundwork for an intellectual counterrevolution from the right. As a result, European conservatives are pretty much stuck with Burke's "cake of custom." And that cake is leavened in a century of leftism at this point.

Too soon old, too late smart.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The Left Craps Out Again

BOY, they're desperate.

Let's see. Apparently, Bill Bennett likes to gamble.

Bennett has never gambled illegally. He hasn’t broken any tax laws as a result of his gambling. Nor, would it appear, has Bennett caused his family any financial hardships as a result of his gambling.

OK. So far we know that Bennett has participated in a perfectly legal activity and done no harm to anyone.

But Bill Bennett is also a public figure who has written books about virtue and morality.


Has Bennett ever asserted that gambling is immoral? Nope.

Has Bennett ever lectured about the evils of gambling? Nope.

So. Bennett engaged in a legal activity that caused no harm to anyone and about which he’s never expressed an opinion.


Ahhh. So the reason Bennett is under fire is because - even though he’s done nothing illegal or contrary to any of his voluminously recorded moral precepts - it APPEARS to a bunch of people who don’t like him that he’s acting in a manner inconsistent with what OTHER people they don’t like PROBABLY believe. And these people associate with Bennett! Some of them, anyway.

If you think about it, Bennett's only crime is his failure to confirm to the stereotypes of leftist twits.

Once again for the American left, it's're out!

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Monday, May 05, 2003
Apologies Again

To those of you who have been checking in looking for the latest Revealed Truth, I apologize.

I'm in the process of deciding whether I should continue this effort or confine my writings to my (presumably increased) contributions to Francis Porretto's fine site, Palace of Reason (which I highly recommend you visit if you haven't already done so).

At any rate, I do have some thoughts to pass along......


Thanks to John Ray for pointing out this story, which I had missed. Apparently Tony Blair doesn't think much of the notion that George Bush is an empty vessel. He was quoted in a recent Vanity Fair article saying that such depictions of Bush are "complete bull" and "total nonsense." And he added this:

"I was about to say, 'He's not someone who will philosophize,' but actually that's not true, because he does. But 'directness' is the best way I can describe it. He has a very, very direct way of stating exactly what he feels about a situation.

"He is highly intelligent, and it's not clotted by so many nuances that the meaning is obscured. The good thing about (Bush) is that once he does really think that an issue has to be tackled he has big reserves of courage for doing it, and he won't really be diverted."

"I trust him, and that is extremely important at our level of politics

Which brings me to a subject I've been meaning to discuss in connection with W for some time.

Americans have over the course of the past few decades increasingly come to confuse glibness with intellect. Actually, this might be understating the matter. One of the sad ramifications of the triumph of postmodernism is that many of our countrymen believe - whether they realize it or not - that only the con-man has true wisdom.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well, if heroism is passe as postmodernism teaches us, and if the notion of individual greatness is a fraud believed only by the terminally naive, then who should we trust? Who has useful knowledge and the ability to effectively wield it? The logical conclusion of such a belief system is that the man of intellect is the man who can fool the rubes who adhere to the outmoded doctrine of individual integrity and individual power. This is how we have come to adjudge intelligence.

So that Bill Clinton wasn't so much ridiculed for splitting hairs over the definition of the word "is" as he was seen as oh, so clever. He beat the rap after all! Speaking of which, consider also the case of Johnny Cochrane. Cochrane got O.J. Simpson acquitted - when we all know he was guilty as sin. Was he ostracized? Condemned as a charlatan? Of course not. The general reaction was: "What a brilliant man!"

There has always been rooted in the American psyche an element of backhanded admiration for the lovable rogue. We've always known, for example, that mobsters kill innocents and perpetrate the most wicked sort of violence, but we've been drawn to movies glamorizing their lifestyle nonetheless. No harm, no foul, though. Living our lives as rational beings, we've been able to live with the dissonance easily enough.

But this desire to be fooled - and admiration for the hucksters who can pull it off - is something relatively new. This isn't backhanded admiration; this is willing supplication to those who mean us no good. This is reserving our admiration for the most dysfunctional and evil sort of person and our scorn for the decent and the noble.

Cunning isn't synonymous with intelligence. Maybe George W. Bush is the person to make us relearn that lesson. As Blair implied, duplicity isn't a particularly useful trait, except perhaps among people whose job descriptions include obfuscation and deception. Like members of the French diplomatic corps. Maybe...just maybe...HONESTY can be clever. And maybe the ability to make a clever quip with the cameras rolling is less indicative of intellectual firepower than orchestrating two successful wars against allegedly invulnerable adversaries while sustaining minimal loss of U.S. life and fighting a simultaneous war against an international terrorist network. Maybe saying what you mean and meaning what you say isn't such an outmoded notion after all. Maybe, in fact, it should be a central organizing principle of free people and free nations.

Given where our culture is at today, I'd say that the person who could make us learn all those lessons would have to be pretty damned smart.

Even if he does pronounce it "nu-cu-ler."

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