Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rand Paul vs His Critics

J.E. Dyer at Hot Air takes both left and right to task for their expressions of horror at Rand Paul's heresies. As Dyer observes, in this shameful episode Paul is the only one who seems willing to actually think. Everyone else is rending their garments as though it's perfectly obvious that he has uttered blasphemy, but this seems like a tactic designed to enable them to avoid having to address his main point.

Dyer explains:

There have been two incidents now, since the Kentucky primary, in which Rand Paul has failed to prostrate himself automatically before a political shibboleth. One concerned the Civil Rights Act, the intent of which Paul has expressed full support for. His quarrel is with the element of the Civil Rights Act that authorizes the federal government to regulate private businesses.

The other is Paul's criticism of Obama's "boot on the neck" comment about BP, and of the general societal attitude in the US that everything must be litigated and litigable fault assigned for any bad thing that happens.

As Dyer argues regarding the civil rights matter, just because the federal government is acting to bring about some good doesn't mean that it's right that the federal government is doing it. It may be good that students not adopt Marxist economic ideas, for instance, but it would not be appropriate for the federal government to ban the dissemination of those ideas.

Dyer closes with this:

Tacit, unexamined acceptance of federal authority to do these things is what Rand Paul is challenging. In 2010, he is the one asking people to think, rather than to merely repeat doctrinaire talking points taught to them since birth. His critics, on the other hand, sound like nothing so much as children reciting a catechism, and tsk-tsk-ing over those who don't recite it in exactly the same way. That includes many of his critics on the right - who have agreed to be governed by a list of pieties that makes effective dissent from the left's religious doctrine impossible.

Read the whole piece at the link.


The New Normal

Imagine a society which finds itself unable to make moral judgments. How long will that society be able to sustain its moral character? How long will it be before that society begins an ever quickening descent into the moral cesspool? How far have we already descended?

Once upon a time there was in America a fairly uniform moral understanding, but that consensus no longer exists. We have lost a common basis for saying that something is wrong, and consequently traditional morality and those who practice it are often objects of derision in our popular culture. Those who seek to hold fast to the convictions of our grandfathers are mocked and intimidated by silly admonitions against imposing one's values upon the rest of society.

Even so, Christian tradition rooted in divine revelation provides a unique platform for resisting, for example, the increasingly bizarre sexualization of our culture. But since Scripture as a source of moral authority no longer has purchase in much of society, Christians who advert to it are usually ignored, often sneered at, and sometimes cowed into silence.

When the societal demographic which actually possesses a ground upon which to base moral claims is silenced, however, moral norms are inevitably established by the lowest common social denominator, and the lowest common denominator in our society is pretty low.

Robin of Berkeley writes about this in a column about this slide into the sewer at The American Thinker. Her piece is worth the few minutes it takes to peruse. Here's a peek:

[O]nce something is repeated often enough, it becomes the New Normal.

Decades ago, the first rap song that celebrated beating "ho's" and shooting cops was shocking. But after the umpteenth song, the lyrics may no longer startle.

When Hustler started showing it all, the gasps were practically audible. Now you can look at perverted stuff online that makes Hustler pale in comparison.

Movies and TV shows used to merely hint at violence. Now films and video games offer a steady diet of graphic mayhem.

At one time, horrendous crimes, like murdering police or carjackings, were unheard of. Now they are commonplace: again, the New Normal.

The degradation of the culture through making the abnormal normal is no coincidence. Members of the Frankfurt School plotted the degeneration almost a hundred years ago. According to one group member, "We'll make the West so corrupt that it stinks."

Their scheming has paid off, creating a cesspool of decadence. The new Pledge of Allegiance is not to the flag, but to the self: If it feels good, do it.

The above link to the Frankfurt School is worth following. The essay by Timothy Matthews that it leads to is an eye-opener.