On the importance of civility, decency, and subsidiarity | Jonah Goldberg | National Review

“The idea that [civility and decency]… are what’s holding social conservatives back from ‘victory’ in the culture war strikes me as one of the most preposterous claims to be taken seriously by intelligent conservatives in recent memory.”

Source: Jonah Goldberg’s G-File: Endings & Beginnings | National Review

Goldberg takes a long while to get to the point (forgivable, since it’s a farewell column), but when he does, it’s a point I agree with:

“[The solution to the problems facing our country] isn’t to get the best right-wing technocrats to run the economy and the culture. It’s to deny the state the power to run either. Send power back to the communities where people live [emphasis added]. If North Dakota wants to be a theocracy, that’s fine by me as long as the Bill of Rights is respected. If California wants to turn itself into Caligula’s court, I’ll criticize it, but go for it.

“The enemy here is the state, because by aggrandizing to itself the power to tell people how to live, people put all of the blame on a far-off government in Washington — or even more distant ‘globalists’ — for their problems. Federalism, part of the forgotten portions of the Bill of Rights, is the only system that lets the most people live the way they want to live, in communities they have power to influence and direct. In a real community, there are no faceless ‘powers that be.’ There’s Phil and Sarah, or even Mom and Dad.

“And the glorious thing about this kind of pluralism — i.e., for communities, not just individuals — is that if the community you’re living in isn’t conducive to your notion of happiness or virtue, you can move somewhere that is. We want more institutions that give us a sense of meaning and belonging, not a state that promises to deliver all of it for you.”

This is (as Goldberg points out) precisely the Catholic social principle of subsidiarity, with which I also agree: the principle that things should be done by the smallest and most local group / organization / entity that is capable of doing them.

“Keep it local,” in other words. Respect difference and distinctiveness. Celebrate real diversity, not the ersatz, politically-defined version (actually identicality and sameness) I have often written against here. Allow people – no, not “allow,” recognize and embrace people’s right to – true self-expression, and self-determination… even if it’s not politically correct. Maybe especially if it’s not!

Goldberg is square on when he notes that

“It’s a cliché to say that nationalism’s resurgence is a response to globalization. Obviously, there’s truth to that. Less discussed is the fact that American nationalism — both on the right and the left — is a response to, well, nationalization.”

In other words, we have forgotten federalism, as expressed perhaps most precisely and succinctly in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, the last right enumerated (not granted: recall that we are “endowed by our Creator” – not the government! – “with certain inalienable rights”) by the Bill of Rights:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

We have lost sight of that, in our march “from sea to shining sea,” and the creation of an American empire (though without the name), and it is to our very great detriment!

We need to get it back.

 

Small Beer: Raising a Glass for Freedom | The Imaginative Conservative

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/men-drinking-beer.jpg

Distributism is the only practical solution to the problem of rampant corporatism and the globalism which is its inevitable consequence. Next time we raise a glass of craft-brewed ale, we should not merely enjoy its flavor, we should also raise a toast to the political and economic freedom that it represents. (essay by Joseph Pearce)

Source: Small Beer: Raising a Glass for Freedom ~ The Imaginative Conservative

It doesn’t take the proverbial rocket-scientist to perceive the perils and pitfalls of socialism. Tens of millions of dead, and untold misery among the living, over the last century provide more than ample reason to view socialism as what it is: a tried-and-failed vision of political economy, a utopian ideal in the worst sense of the word (“utopia” means, literally, “no place” – a vision that is by its very nature impossible to achieve), a shipwreck foundered upon the shoals of its own misunderstanding of human nature.

What is less obvious – especially among many on the conservative side of the political aisle – is that capitalism doesn’t exactly enjoy a shining historical record, either. As a useful ally to Western liberal democracies (back when “liberal” meant something close to its original definition) during the long struggle against totalitarian Communism, being seen as the antithesis to Marxism, capitalism acquired something of a luster that it may not entirely deserve.

While capitalism has not (so far, at least) sent anyone to the gulags, that does not mean its effects have been entirely benign, either.

Continue reading “Small Beer: Raising a Glass for Freedom | The Imaginative Conservative”

I’m a civilizationist!

Related image
I’m Spartacus!

“There is a new word I’ve come across lately: civilizationist. I don’t know who coined it, and it’s an awkward word, but [it] communicates well enough [that] I may take to using it. Those who do, signify by it someone who is more than merely in favor of civilization…”

Source: The Civilizationists – Catholicism.org

What is a “civilizationist”? As the author of this piece, Gary Potter, notes,

“The civilizationist is an individual who embraces the history, customs and traditions of a place and people — his homeland or region and countrymen — in contrast and opposition to the economic and political globalist. He believes in rootedness and identity. He also thinks fences make for good neighbors. The globalist wants to ‘tear down barriers’ with all peoples homogenized into their ‘shared humanity.’

The buzzwords of the globalist – who is also usually (but not always… see next paragraph) a “liberal” and a “progressive” (note the quotes) – are just that: buzzwords. They are marketing slogans, intended to sell a product; and like many (most?) marketing slogans, bear only a passing resemblance (if any) to reality.

I am not sure which is worse, to be honest: the corporate mega-capitalist, who seeks to reduce the complexities and relationships of traditional societies and cultures to a bare dichotomy of producers and consumers, with he and his ilk sitting atop the pyramid, raking in the profits, or the true believer, who actually accepts these slogans at face value! Continue reading “I’m a civilizationist!”

Locally owned businesses can help communities thrive | Grist

Cities where small businesses account for a relatively large share of the economy have stronger social networks and more engaged citizens.

Source: Locally owned businesses can help communities thrive — and survive climate change | Grist

Let’s bracket out the “climate change” part of this, not because the climate isn’t changing – it is – but because intelligent people of good will can disagree on the extent to which those changes are anthropogenic (human-caused) and how much is due to natural cycles over which we have limited or no control. Obsessing over climate change can make enemies out of people who might otherwise be allies. Let’s just focus on doing the right thing, thereby generating positive, synergistic effects that will, in the main, benefit all of us, whether global warming is anthropogenic or not.

Case in point: I first ran across this article back in the dim and distant past (2013…), but the message is no less important, four years later! When I posted it on my Facebook account, I wrote, quoting the article,

“That there’s a connection between the ownership structure of our economy and the vitality of our democracy may sound a bit odd to modern ears. But this was an article of faith among 18th- and 19th-century Americans, who strictly limited the lifespan of corporations and enacted antitrust laws whose express aim was to protect democracy by maintaining an economy of small businesses.” Unfortunately, the bigger-is-better mindset of the 20th century blew this traditional American concept out of the water…

Indeed it did. And sadly so!

Our Founders – preeminently Thomas Jefferson, but others as well – were clear that the United States was intended to be a nation of smallholders: yeoman farmers, shopkeepers, tradesmen. They were staunch defenders of both private property and free enterprise, but having had to deal with the effects of oppression not only by the British Crown but by the East India Company, among others, they were understandably chary of giving corporations too much power. The kind of crony capitalism, corporatism, plutocracy and oligarchy we see today would, I am quite sure, have been anathema to them. Continue reading “Locally owned businesses can help communities thrive | Grist”