Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reason and Politics

I have been reading a very badly-done book written by a very lazy author. The book is titled “The Successor”, and the author is Stephen Frey. I found the book at the library when trying to find new books for my daughter and myself, and seeing that the library had several books by the author, I decided to give him a try, because if he was good there would be a lot of material to enjoy. However, Stephen Frey is to good writing what Al Gore is to personal integrity – he claims the honor but does nothing to deserve it. The characters are shallow and predictable, stereotypes abound, and while the plot moves along, the reader is neither enriched ethically nor challenged intellectually in reading this sludge. If Big Macs can be said to be bad for your physique, then this author is a threat to brain cells and rational analysis.

Leaving aside the horrid fiction of Mr. Frey though, I pondered the way this man thinks. He happens to be not only a liberal but also a managing director of a private equity firm in Florida. In this regard, Frey seems to be of the common liberal aristocratic mold – like the Kennedys, he expects the common people to be unable to govern themselves, and therefore the election of a liberal is by the grace of some unnamed ethical force – perhaps the Shiny Pony Unicorn, since Frey’s characters never mention God except when swearing – while the election of a conservative is (in his mind) a swindling of the sheep by the appointment of a crook by his cronies. As if that tired old libel were not enough, Frey is clearly unable to recognize an accurate image of the professional American soldier, the notion that ordinary working-class Americans have worthwhile values and noble ideals they live by, or even to respect the notion that people who earn their money are perhaps better judges of what should be done with their taxes than men who have never worked for a living, like Congressmen, Equity firm directors and novelists who spew out a book with less than a third of the effort needed to develop the characters, plot, and theme.

I could go on disparaging Mr. Frey for a long time without insulting him half so badly as he deserves, but the man would probably enjoy the attention, fail to understand the issue, and in any case the larger question take precedence. That question for here, is how to make sure that we, as conservatives, do not commit the same offenses as Mr. Frey. That is, it is tempting to caricature liberals according to the worst behavior of their leading slimeballs, but in all honesty, they can’t all be as corrupt as Harry Reid, as stupid as Nancy Pelosi, or as brazenly self-serving as President Obama. Some liberals are honest, sincere in their desire to help as many people, to address suffering and seek justice. Sure, they’re going about it the wrong way, in much the same way that a lot of good, honest Germans somehow failed to see Adolf Hitler and the Nazis for what they were (kneejerk spittle attacks from the Leftists reading this in 3, 2 …), but they do mean well. What else is odd, is that many of them are reasonably smart, like Mr. Frey. Foolish and astoundingly short-sighted, though, as if they only use their intelligence every so often, like some people I knew in school. In a way, that’s a kind of hint from Life. People get romantically involved with individuals they know will be bad for them, throw away opportunity and every good thing for some stupid thrill of the moment, and yeah, they vote for people that – down deep – they know will turn out to be frauds and liars. And sorry folks, there’s no shortage of that kind of foolishness on either side of the aisle. Sure, the Republicans found Reagan, or more likely God took pity on America and sent him – then got angry at us and punished us with Obama – but the GOP also gave us Bob Dole and John McCain. And sorry, I know this will get me some flak from our side, but no, Sarah Palin is not Presidential timber. She’s a fine person and stands for some great values, but … no. The thing is, millions of Republicans supported candidates they knew would lose, and in any case were not what the country needed. That does not make it rational for someone to vote for Senator Chicago-Way, but we need to understand that politics is not often about what is right and reasonable.

Of course, most drunks sober up, most kids eventually grow up, and once you think seriously about the future you can’t have a conscience and a three-digit IQ and not be a conservative. But the real world has alcoholics, career criminals, and Democrats, and even an Equity Fund director is not immune to the complete collapse of his moral framework. So, the next time some troll plasters the blog with some screed that even Hillary Clinton would consider going too far, just remember that for some folks, that’s the only universe they know.