Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More On Dwight (And David Brooks)

MSI wrote in the comments:
I have since had occasion to read some excerpts of the Abbe Barruel, who is perhaps the originator of the conspiratorial connection between masonry, anti-Christianity, and the French Revolution (a view also approved by Edmund Burke), and I have to say that I am even less convinced now that Dwight was crazy than I was last year.

After rereading Dwight, I'm a bit more sympathetic to his position. Let's look at this:
In the societies of Illuminati doctrines were taught, which strike at the root of all human happiness and virtue; and every such doctrine was either expressly or implicitly involved in their system.

The being of God was denied and ridiculed.

Government was asserted to be a curse, and authority a mere usurpation.

Civil society was declared to be the only apostasy of man.

The possession of property was pronounced to be robbery.

Chastity and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.

Adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful, and even as virtuous actions.

To crown such a system of falshood and horror all means were declared to be lawful, provided the end was good.

In this last doctrine men are not only loosed from every bond, and from every duty; but from every inducement to perform any thing which is good, and, abstain from any thing which is evil; and are set upon each other, like a company of hellhounds to worry, rend, and destroy. Of the goodness of the end every man is to judge for himself; and most men, and all men who resemble the Illuminati, will pronounce every end to be good, which will gratify their inclinations. The great and good ends proposed by the Illuminati, as the ultimate objects of their union, are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society civil and domestic. These they pronounce to be so good, that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable, if necessary for these great purposes. With such an example in view, it will be in vain to hunt for ends, which can be evil.

Correspondent with this summary was the whole system. No villainy, no impiety, no cruelty, can be named, which was not vindicated; and no virtue, which was not covered with contempt.

I think MSI's opinion, which I read as "he was a bit paranoid but people were actually out to get him and lots of people were paranoid then", is probably correct.

On a completely different point, but I didn't remember this sentence and like it a lot:
Religion and Liberty are the two great objects of defensive war.

Also, I went back, as Mrs. P asked, and reread David Brooks from a year ago. This seems on point:
We’re probably entering a period, in other words, in which smart young liberals meet a stone-cold scarcity that they do not seem to recognize or have a plan for.

And even this passage, which I'm sure is the type of thing Mrs. P wanted me to re-evaluate in the cold light of hindsight:
I may seem like a boring pundit whose most exotic fantasies involve G.A.O. reports, but deep down, I have dreams. And right now I’m dreaming of the successful presidency this country needs. I’m dreaming of an administration led by Barack Obama, but which stretches beyond the normal Democratic base. It makes time for moderate voters, suburban voters, rural voters and even people who voted for the other guy.

is tempered in the rest of the column:
Walking into the Obama White House of my dreams will be like walking into the Gates Foundation. The people there will be ostentatiously pragmatic and data-driven. They’ll hunt good ideas like venture capitalists. They’ll have no faith in all-powerful bureaucrats issuing edicts from the center. Instead, they’ll use that language of decentralized networks, bottom-up reform and scalable innovation.

They will actually believe in that stuff Obama says about postpartisan politics. That means there won’t just be a few token liberal Republicans in marginal jobs. There will be people like Robert Gates at Defense and Ray LaHood, Stuart Butler, Diane Ravitch, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jim Talent at other important jobs.

I didn't go through everything, but what I did seems to stand up pretty well.


Anonymous said...

I'll wait until today's election results are in as far as responding to:

"And right now I’m dreaming of the successful presidency this country needs. I’m dreaming of an administration led by Barack Obama, but which stretches beyond the normal Democratic base. It makes time for moderate voters, suburban voters, rural voters and even people who voted for the other guy."

But I don't have to wait for the results to remind you of the words President Obama said to the Republicans on the Hill during his first meeting with them on the now incredibly failed Stimulus bill:

"I won."


(it even cites Brooks' complaint with bill)

Anyhoo in this space last week unrelenting white racism was blamed for Detroit's downfall...take a look at this as the article cited here I meant to send you over the weekend as well as "The Curley Effect":


Mrs. P

FLG said...

Mrs. P:

Unrelenting white racism was not blamed for Detroit's downfall in this space last week.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Sugrue was brought up by one of your readers as the bloke with the real goods on Detroit.

Sugrue, who is from Detroit so many conclude he must really know what he talks about, has made a career arguing that decades of middle class white racism is the reason for the riot and ultimately for Detroit being Detroit.

This is why I pointed the conversation to Michael Barone is also from Detroit and unlike Sugrue worked in the Mayor's office. Sugrue went off to college and never returned- except to write his book. Michael Barone is a most temperate man who clearly still holds great affection for Detroit. He also has an unequaled understanding of elections in this country, county by county.

He argues, and the statistics back him up that Detroit is Detroit because of decades of policies that do not promote upwardly mobile behavior, a lax attitude towards crime, a once excellent public school system turned lousy, as well as oppressive taxes that encouraged corporations, small businesses as well as middle class and affluent residents to leave the city.

I did like that bit you added later from Tocqueville as there is much truth to it. It's just that it's not the whole truth when it comes to Detroit.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

As far as Brooks goes, a year ago he wrote:

"Nov. 4, 2008, is a historic day because it marks the end of an economic era, a political era and a generational era all at once.

"Economically, it marks the end of the Long Boom, which began in 1983. Politically, it probably marks the end of conservative dominance, which began in 1980."

This morning we woke up to learn the Long Boom is not over. OP/Ed from the Richmond Times Dispatch:

nowBuzz up!

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Bob McDonnell's comfortable win in the race for governor of Virginia -- not because it necessarily portends a GOP sweep in the 2010 midterms, but because it serves as a model for conservative and Republican victories in battleground states across the country.

McDonnell's election last night -- and his impressive coattails -- are the product of personality and philosophy. McDonnell triumphed, in a state that Barack Obama carried by 6 percentage points, by running as an unabashed conservative -- but never an angry conservative.

In at least one respect, the governor-elect resembles Obama: His public persona is utterly unflappable, always cool, calm, and collected. McDonnell revived the sunny side of conservatism that has for too long lingered in the shadow of wedge-issue attack politics. It is, once again, no exaggeration to compare McDonnell's style -- friendly but focused, relaxed but relentless -- to that of Ronald Reagan, the ultimate master of melding the conservative philosophy to a positive outlook.

Contrast that with the woman Republican in NY 23. She characterized herself to be a "moderate". Brooks agreed on Newshour to this. But if you looked at her record, she wasn't a moderate. Then a wimpy guy who was a pure conservative Republican ran on the Conservative ticket and eventually the "moderate" had to drop out. Then, in classic Brooksian-Frumesque-Noonanista-CBuckleyponce-fashion, she said she was going to always be a loyal Republican. 48 hours later she endorsed the Democrat but we shouldn't take any note of that. Especially how off the judgement was of those Republicans that nominated her to run....

What is undeniable about yesterday are the results.

Brooks wrote:

"...right now I’m dreaming of the successful presidency this country needs. I’m dreaming of an administration led by Barack Obama, but which stretches beyond the normal Democratic base."

The Dems lost yesterday for 2 reasons. 1. Their message did not extend beyond their base (we can quibble over why if you like). 2. Their base didn't turn out.

Kind of makes one wonder how truly successful the O Presidency will be...

Mrs. P

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