Bob, there’s a not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on something you said. I feel like I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in common sense from the last 6 or 8 months I’ve been reading you. My master’s degree should be delivered sometime next fall.
Comment by Mark
BW keeps coming back again and again to this subject of ideology versus pragmatics.
Reagan was an opponent of something that has not been opposed in big league politics since Reagan and that is the rise of “communitarian standards” in social life.
Reagan opposed the salting of the bureaucracy with his appointees because he wanted to establish a “competing standard” that specifies that appointees lose their jobs when the boss loses his. That was the way things were before the civil service and Reagan felt that if we go back to the old ways we could mitigate the plague of rule by academics and financial elites.
Reagan understood that the concept of “communitarian standards” was a mechanism through which an academic-financial elite establishes a dictatorship they call “democracy”. This is the European Union today.
Everybody (and I mean everybody) along the ideological spectrum nowadays loves the notion of “communitarian standards” in one way or another. The Christian Right is in love with the idea as are Hippy Liberals. Even the “anti-globalists” love the idea without noticing the irony.
The genius of BW is that he understands that humans are punished by cleverness and Reagan was a measure too clever for his own good. I get the feeling that BW is an opponent of all ideology.
Instead BW says focus on loyalty alone. Isn’t that a truly radical idea?
Comment by Dave —
You are really getting my point. I plug away here every day on the faith that you will carry on my way of thinking. I have exactly the same feeling you do:
We are living in a world of zombies or Pod People. Why can’t they just cut the crap and see reality as it is?
It helps me a LOT when Mark says he THINKS about what I say and uses it in formulating his own approach to things. In a world of Pod People, one person who can understand reality is a great relief.
Dave continues Mark’s theme. He is APPLYING basic thought to policy.
Dave is dead right about this communitarian business. I mentioned it in regard to that endless, disastrous nonsense about conservative congressmen “giving money back.” The same thing was true of Reagan’s policy of not putting our people in the permanent civil service.
They say that if THEY give money back, then they are being principled.
What was funny to me was that, when they were giving money back they were adamantly opposed to exactly the same policy in military affairs.
It’s called Unilateral Disarmament. The idea was that, since America believed in Peace, we should give up OUR weapons and Communists would get rid of theirs. Liberals said that was a matter of principle. Conservatives said it was insane.
At the same time I had to deal with conservative Unilateral Disarmament all the time.
Back to basics:
Why did people elect a conservative congressman instead of a liberal? They elected him so he could get 1) a vote in congress, 2) More important, so he could get committee assignments; 3) so he could speak for them in congress, 4) so he would get MONEY to hire staff to do things for his district and ITS beliefs.
Now, what if a congressman said, “Well, I think congress does too much. So I’m not going to vote at all.” Lunatic asylum, here he comes.
What if a congressman said, “I can have two committee assignments, but since I believe the government interferes in too many areas, I am going to give up one. Lunatic asylum, here he comes.
What if a congressman said, ” I don’t like the rhetoric in congress, so when a question is being debated, I’, going to give up my time.” Has the asylum got room for one more?
Now, what if a congressman says, “I have this budget, but the government spends too much money. So I won’t hire staff to take care of my district or fight for my beliefs.” Do they put him in a straitjacket? No, they think he’s God.
Reagan’s saying, “We came here to clean out the swamp, not to join the alligators” he was practicing exactly the same kind of Unilateral Disarmament. As I said, the first thing Bush did when he took office in 1989 was to clean out every single TEMPORARY political appointee Reagan had put in. He wanted his OWN people in there. He, like every president before Reagan, worked hard to get his people into PERMANENT civil service jobs.
Try to explain that to an intellectual zombie, a respectable conservative. You will understand why I am so grateful for the Dave’s and Mark’s.
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