Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Red, purple, and blue

A former student stopped by my office for a chat. Back in the day, she was a prominent campus Democrat, working at the state legislature and moving in state party circles. She went to law school here, an experience that, if anything, should have confirmed her party affiliation, despite the presence of this guy on campus.

Not one to beat around the bush, so to speak, I asked her if she was still a Democrat. She chuckled and said, "well, I’m a Zellocrat." She voted for GWB last fall, for reasons that are perfectly intelligible to anyone who pays attention to these matters. She has two handsome and lovely children, ages six and eight, so the "parent gap" comes into play. And she attends this church. So, in addition to the other cultural sticking points that make it difficult for her to return to the Democratic fold, there’s abortion and gay marriage. She might have voted for Joe Lieberman, she said, so she’s not exactly a "theocrat."

But until the Democrats can appeal to the Zellocrats on these perfectly obvious grounds, they’re playing a losing hand, not only (I think) in my part of the country, but all over.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Maybe she should start reading Howard Dean’s speeches. Or reading the news more carefully. The choice between the parties just isn’t that hard. And there are virtually no "Zellocrats" left in the Democratic party. They are unwanted and powerless. Clinging to the ghost of the New Deal is pointless. We are long past those times. The welfare state is here to stay. This lady has nothing to fear from the Republican party.

I stumbled onto this site because I almost attended Ashland University. I’ve discovered nothing but a priori dogma and blithe tendentiousness. There is hardly an ounce of scholarly discourse, but derisive political jibes wandering in want of a purpose. I’m at a loss to understand how bashing the left (Whatever left-right, liberal-conservative really mean anyway. All ideologies in American politics are subscribers to the "Liberal Tradition" like it or not. Even "conservative" Burkean, Smithian or Spencerian philosophies harken from this intellectual spring.) Edmund himself would hardly sanction the injection of religion into politics. Because the moral values implicit in the Bill of Rights happen to be coextensive with the values of Christianity does not mean the belief-system should be superimposed on the political system. Nor should any nexus be extended between the two lest the "cabals" of "faction" that Madison’s Federalist warns of be realized. For what it’s worth, morals themselves were not educed from religion, but vica versa. History is just as suitable an arbiter of virtue as religion, yet nowhere on this site is this considered. Inquiry into morality is choked by the tourniquet of religion; a force that may be employed for good, but invoked in this school for politics. No more questions may be solicited, for they have been answered. All dissenters are liberals, and all liberals are wrong. The Republican party is closer to the Democratic party than you purport, and the electorate forms even more of a consensus. There is no rioting in the streets, but there is a culture war: the elites and doctrinaires that point to each other in a feckless endeavor to bring the other down.

Mr. Hammond, I can’t help but wonder if Ashland might have provided you with a better education than the one you apparently got. The only thing worse than being pompous and pedantic is being pompous, pedantic and WRONG!

First, this blog like most that allow responses varies in quality. Some threads are pretty typical fare, while others are filled with the thoughts of academicians near and far. The idea that nothing distinctly intellectual can be encountered here is a bit more deeply, please.

Most of your other statements are similarly inaccurate. I find it amusing that you think Burke fits within the "liberal" tradition...quite absurd! The man thought politics and government were reinforcing and quite necessary to each other, a position that followed logically from his respect for "tried-and-true" institutions. Even Spencer, whose (nuanced) utilitarianism and dismissal of religion as superstitution marks him as a "classical liberal," would understand that social institutions interpenetrate one another. Step down from the lectern, sir, until your education has been corrected.

As for religion being a by-product or epiphenomenon of civic morality, I wonder how you can know this given the fact that religion and "society" have generally be inextricably intertwined. Although clearly Durkheim thought religious was a form of collective self-worship, which may be close to your apparent view, there are ample examples of religion becoming an independent (and contrarian)force (e.g., abolitionists, women’s rights in the West, post-Roman sexual mores). Your portrait of religious people in politics is utter caricature. Church and state co-evolve, but hopefully both are steered by enduring principles that are flexible enough to inform the here-and-now (e.g., that human beings have needs and duties beyond mere materialism).

My advice to you is to crawl out of that stuffed shirt you are wearing and approach this blog as a opportunity to learn and even to teach. Stick around, you might actually read something useful.

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