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Dumpster Diving During the Primaries

Intellectual and spiritual dumpster diving, that is: Rod Dreher links to Franky Schaeffer's maudlin hymn to Barack Obama, which, aside from inducing an almost-convulsive feeling of revulsion, confirmed me in my earlier judgment that the man has slipped the tether.

Those who earlier engaged in the ascetical act of reading Schaeffer's interview with John Whitehead concerning the former's misbegotten memoir will recognize in this latest missive the regurgitation of some rotten tropes. It's all there: his intellectual rejection of his past, his emotional reflexes towards that past, which he must check, and the sub-rationality of his present political leanings.

If I could proffer just a few words of counsel to Schaeffer, they would be the encouragement to Just. Go. Away. If you are bound and determined to make your peace with the liberal compact, the privatization of normative commitments which are properly public - and you know what these are - then do so quietly, and privately, causing no scandal by identifying my Church with the endorsement of Moloch-worship. Cease engaging in warfare with the past, as though you were still an adolescent rebelling against your father, and drop the pretense that your present views are so much more sophisticated and spiritual than those you held then - if there is any truth to the accounts of that past, the one constant is the need to stand on the corner shouting, "I thank Thee, O God, that I am not like those people", in this case the fundamentalists, God-botherers, and people who actually understand Christian ethics.

Comments (20)

I read the interview and the hymn to Obama.

What strikes me most is how Frank sounds so much like a typical baby boomer, the craven need to seek approval from the "right" people while at the same time clinging to his adolescent rage at his family.

And the shallowness. The idea that deep philosophical and political divides can be overcome by a little sophistry and skilled oration will soon die a tragic death, I think.

I'm not sure what it is, but something about his simplistic understandings and the confidence with which he propounds them seems so typical of his generation.

It's as if the America Obama talks about makes the professional dividers nervous. Maybe they sense that they would become less relevant in a world in which Obama was our president.

Touche', Mr. Schaeffer, touche'.

Go, Maximos!!!

I think Buchanan said it best in one of his recent columns - we are an unserious people in a serious time. The empty-headed politicians full of empty promises to match perfectly with an empty-headed populous, with empty-headed columnists like this guy writing worthless trope.

"If you are bound and determined to make your peace with the liberal compact,..."

Isn't that the goal of what nowadays passes as "mainstream conservatism"?

Isn't that the goal of what nowadays passes as "mainstream conservatism"?

Now THAT's a touché!

Isn't that the goal of what nowadays passes as "mainstream conservatism"?

Not merely this, but such offerings of obeisance to liberalism are the means by which one demonstrates that one's religiosity is mature, by the criteria of liberalism: you've burned the ceremonial incense, conceded the prerogatives of the gods of the liberal city, and so are deemed enlightened. Legions of Christians manifest this pathological psychology, within which the desire for acceptance by the establishment precipitates a slow-motion crisis of self-loathing; it is analogous to a high-school student who comes to despise everything he is in order to secure acceptance by some dominant clique.

Am I just behind the times? (This is a serious question.) I always think of abortion as a non-negotiable for mainstream conservatives. It depends on how you define the phrase, of course. But I certainly know plenty of conservatives who would not (for example) fit the "paleo" label, who are "mainstream conservative" on various contentious issues (like the Iraq war, for example) where I might even disagree with them, but who are rock-solid on abortion, embryo-destroying research, and the like.

There are some neoconservatives for whom the abortion issue is either negotiable or inconsequential, some of them even writing it off as a relic of the pre-9/11 era - this rhetoric was revived for the apologetics of the Guiliani campaign - and the recent internecine warfare within conservatism has prompted some of the mammonists - those in the coalition primarily for the tax cuts, for whom social issues are retrograde and distracting - to cast aspersions upon the religious right. Lawrence Auster has had numerous excellent posts on the neoconservative betrayals of conservative principle, though I am unable to induce his search function to operate on my computers.

In short, for some factions, the issue is eminently negotiable, and negotiating it away is, as always, a sign of "growth".

Lawrence Auster has had numerous excellent posts on the neoconservative betrayals of conservative principle, though I am unable to induce his search function to operate on my computers.
If it helps, you can use Google as a site-specific search engine by typing (for example) "site:www.amnation.com" into the search box along with your query.

That is something I do all the time with sites such as NRO, the search function of which is inadequate. I'll chalk up the oversight re: View From the Right to exhaustion and inertia, or something.

Here is an old View From the Right comment thread on the leftward march of neoconservatives - who, as the dominant faction of the mainstream right, therefore possess the power of driving the movement as a whole - or at least the larger part thereof - to the left.

Here is a discussion of Irving Kristol's now classic unveiling of the essence of neoconservatism, as a form of tutelage for an older conservatism the neocons regarded as retrograde and unsuited to a modern democracy.

"...I always think of abortion as a non-negotiable for mainstream conservatives."

Abortion & the whole right to die movement aren't aberrations. They are logical conclusions to a 400 year old project of displacing God and making man the focus and purpose of all human activity. Suicide is touted as a matter of individual choice to be protected by a "neutral" legal system. It is also the natural end for men exhausted by an empty existence.

As long as mainstream conservatives accept many of the premises of the Liberal Tradition and happily play on it's field, they will be reduced to reduced to fighting ineffective rear-guard actions and ultimately unable to resist it's pathologies.

"they will be reduced to reduced to"

Sorry for stuttering, but it is Fat Tuesday.

As a semi-professional divider I am appalled by a grown man using the phrase "bringing us together". Why would I want to be together with a guy who loves Barack with his gut, putting aside the inattention this might cause towards my cats who are eminently more deserving of love.

The idea of three hundred million people "coming together" raises the specter of claustrophobia, boredom, and possible unsanitary conditions. Besides it's sticky and clammy.

Understand, I have nothing against vapidities, they are the coin of the realm, but the currency can be debased in the transition from justified belief or faith to new forms of adoration.
Could not therefore Mr Schaeffer have taken up something more substantial, say astrology or vegetarianism, gotten of his knees and ceased to think with his intestines?

It's almost enough to make you like Jimmy Carter.

And they say women are too emotional to vote! He's right about one thing, his support of Obama is irrational if he does not support abortion. Obama is a demogogue. He says nothing, but he says it in such a pretty way. A rational person would ask, "Wait, a minute, what is Obama REALLY promoting?" And ignore his suaveness until they got an answer. Instead, our country is loaded with irrational people who key in on Obama's messages which are hopelessly full of abstract (but positive) ideas like "hope" and "fix" and "justice." What kind of hope does a candidate offer that supports abortion throughout pregnancy? What kind of justice? How is he going to "fix" anything if he can't even understand what an abomination it is to destroy innocent human life?

They say that Obama is related to Dick Cheney. I'm starting to wonder if he's not also related to PT Barnum.

What kind of hope does a candidate offer that supports abortion throughout pregnancy?

The kind that stems from the conviction that the goal of life is the liberation of the individual from all moral and social bonds.

Abortion isn't a hindrance to the world Obama hopes to build, it's an essential ingredient.

Obama's hope is that someday, if we just get rid of all the things that, like babies, hold us each back from the ultimate realization of our every fancy, then we will find our utopia.

Thanks for the links, Maximos. I'd seen one or two things from Derbyshire a couple of years ago that sounded like that--"Hey, the sexual revolution was a great thing, actually" etc. But myself, I wouldn't have called Derbyshire a mainstream conservative. It may be that his sort of perspectives are gaining ground, though, and leaving what I will continue to call the conservative grassroots (who _do_ tend to be socially conservative) farther behind.

Obama is just a vacuous Gary "New Ideas!" Hart without the adulterous affair.

Gary "New Ideas!" Hart

LOL! I had almost had that guy conpletely out of my memory. Thanks sooo much for reminding me. :)

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