Saturday, July 30, 2011

Acolyte, Heal Thyself

The endangered dinosaurs in charge of the Church of the All Powerful State are in full panic mode over the debate regarding the national debt ceiling.  For the past few weeks they have been bellowing their latest meme in hysterical (in both senses of the word) attacks on House Republicans who have rebelled against the faith.

Although we no longer physically burn our heretics at the stake, we still do our best to destroy them, and the Church’s acolytes are brandishing their rhetorical pitch and torches with the same wild-eyed lust of Inquisitorial prosecutors of yore.

Just today, we read former Democratic congressman Martin Frost calling the loyal opposition “Tea Party Taliban”; leftwing attorney William Yeomans throws around the same image in a Politico opinion piece; former Republican congressional aide Doug Thompson attacks “Eric Cantor’s Tea Party Terrorism” in an Internet screed; Ted Kennedy biographer Susan Milligan fulminates about the “Tea Party’s Budget Terrorism”; leftwing journalist Trudy Rudin heaps scorn on “GOP Debt Zealots”—and on it goes from the intellectually and morally tattered Left Coast establishment.  (You can join the fun yourself: a search of the term “tea party terrorism” will yield you over 18 million hits on Google.)

The Recovering Bureaucrat makes a simple observation: these “Tea Party terrorists” are actually millions of regular Americans who simply are tired of endless deficits and the sophistry that is regularly employed to seduce us into tacking more unretireable debt onto our government balance sheets.  So Frost, Yeomans, Thompson, Milligan, Rudin, and the people they are fronting for are attempting to place a significant plurality of their fellow Americans outside the moral pale of civic discourse.

As always, these silly and demagogic attacks reek of projection.  The congregants in the Church of the All Powerful State take it as a primary article of faith that the majority of Americans are too ignorant to make appropriate decisions about ourselves and our lives, and so we desperately need Our Betters (as the excellent San Francisco Chronicle journalist Debra Saunders styles them) to take care of us lest we make a greater mess of things.

Our Betters interpret history only through the prism of their canonical assumptions.

From the first victory of modern tyrannical government—the French revolutionary regime that invented state terror—until today, no government-centric regime has been able to create, much less sustain, a growing economy with a general and steady increase in the standard of living.  None.  China is trying, but the jury is still out on its experiment with an economic-without-political freedom regime.

The Recovering Bureaucrat has written extensively about the all-too-human desire for security, and how that can undermine a political economy based, like the United States’, upon individual liberty.  For over a century we Americans have been flirting, like the Chinese are today, with a hybrid regime.  Ours seeks to balance our commitment to freedom with our unwillingness to risk losing the benefits earned thereby.

This is a fool’s errand, as our Founders understood well.  Just as time’s arrow only goes in one direction, so too does the expansion of our consciousness.  The progressive experiment is essentially a reaction to what  appears to many as chaos, disequilibrium, and economic disparities when the free market does its thing.  For too many of us, this dynamic state of affairs is just too scary; we feel out of control and at risk of losing the good things we’ve already achieved.  Thus we are willing to pull back from the impetus that freedom always unleashes.

But the true progressive welcomes this, because he knows that the only way through in all of life’s adventures is forward, not back.  We grow or we die.  He also is willing to suffer the sad and reckless assaults from the fear-based establishment, knowing that the source of the nastiness is the unspoken suspicion that the day of reckoning is nigh.

Having run up the nation’s credit card to unsustainable numbers, even Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi have in recent days conceded that the evil Tea Party Taliban have it right: this cannot go on. 

But having admitted this in public, they still shrink back from doing what the moment requires, because to do so would mean that their faith in the Church for all these years was a serious mistake.  None of us likes to admit mistakes, especially those that we have make stubbornly making for years.  But the first step towards sobriety always requires that we give up our illusions and addictions by admitting that we are powerless over them.  In this apparent paradox lies the path to true liberty.

The outcome of this debt ceiling wrangling is unclear, but the Recovering Bureaucrat uncharacteristically agrees with Nancy Pelosi: our “life on this planet” hangs in the balance.  She at least is honest in her commitment to the Church of the All Powerful State, but the bank coffers are empty, and no amount of “taxing the rich” will fix the problem.  It is time for all of us to undergo a collective Twelve Step recovery program, and the first step is to admit that our addiction to other people’s money has us by the throat.

The sky will not fall; life will not end.  In fact, liberation will follow.  In their faith about the nature of recovery, responsibility, and freedom, Bill W. and Dr. Bob were true Americans.

Sunday morning postscript: And the hits just keep on coming! The dinosaur Left and its MSM lackies continue the Tea Party "terror" silliness. Washington Post house liberal (but the RB repeats himself) Dana Milbank bemoans "the handful of people who believe they are on a mission from God"; the increasingly irrelevant Kathleen Parker decries "the fragging tea party"; Democratic hack Maria Cardona is given space on CNN.com to attack "the tyranny of 87" and their "selfish and irresponsible demands"; and the always dependable Maureen Dowd recycles in the New York Times her own sweet-tempered version of the meme by calling "the maniacal Tea Party freshman" "adamantine nihilists."

Such unreflective and unironic projection in service of such an unachieveable goal.

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