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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Crisis in the West

Crisis in the West. 

What is that crisis? “… a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.” By Steve Bannon.

I’ve written in the past of what I call “the rhyme to the reason”. In other words what is behind the reasoning that makes it work? We can spew facts all day to prove any point or theory we wish to prove, but without a solid underpinning based upon what really works for humanity in general all you end up with is what we have now. A bunch of ideologues left and right screaming their own facts without listening to the people they claim to represent. This leads to what Europe has and we are beginning to see it here. Riots in the streets.

Steve Bannon said the quote above to a group of Conservative Catholics in the Vatican in 2014. I picked this thread up from a recent article ironically by Peggy Noonan who was complimentary of Mr. Bannon.

Ms. Noonan seems instinctually adverse to the tone of Mr. Trump and his advisers of which Mr. Bannon is one. She however does try to understand that which she is naturally disposed to be against. I give her credit for that. That is the least that journalism should be. That is what humanity can and should be.

As an alcoholic I learned the same lesson Ms. Noonan said she learned from William Safire albeit in a different way. Safire’s advice was not to take the easy way which was piling on when someone is down but to look deeper and find the good that may be hidden. My lesson came at a smoke filled “round table” at the back of an AA meeting room after a meeting where some of the old timers would sit and share their wisdom in some blunt down home ways over cards coffee and caffeine. I was complaining about a certain person and after I was done venting my “friend” told me to quit bitching as it was giving him a headache and take that guy out for coffee and find something good about him. It wasn’t a suggestion at least the “shut up” part. But I did and although we didn’t become lifelong friends we did find common ground.

I’m tired of being told to act and think about how I and humanity should go back to our natural state. I want to lead my life by something more. Something more than how much money I can make, how many times I can have sex in a day or who I can manipulate into doing what I want them to do. Or simply just doing what makes me feel good. I’m of the age of Woodstock and what was there outside of great music and an enraptured press, was a mess. Most people had to leave after a couple of days because of hunger, thirst or just downright primitive conditions. People had to leave just to survive.

It is a place to visit, but you sure didn’t want to live there.

The rise of civilization is a constant work in progress. When we all do our share civilization prospers. Steve Bannon talked of “enlightened capitalism” as the best method we have found to date to help spread the wealth and the work of civilization to the most people. It is the “enlightened” part that Bannon was talking about – the part that Judeo-Christian religion has played in putting the “Rhyme to the reason” of capitalism and has made it a good influence on civilization.

If people had to live only for themselves in a natural state we would soon find ourselves in another dark age of the strong living off the weak. In Bannon’s Vatican speech transcript… he said “… I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism, and on top of that we're now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism.”

Those underpinnings are; “… the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief.”

The barbaric form of the struggle, the fight against Islamic fascism is the obvious struggle from without; but he also talked of the more nuanced forms attacking Western Civilization from within.

The obvious at least to conservatives is the rise of “crony capitalism” or in old fashioned terms fascism. Even the communist countries in their need to “spread the wealth” have had to allow capitalism to come in. This capitalism however was state run not what we think of as Free Enterprise. The great thing hidden in this was the tacit acknowledgement that Capitalism works.

Bannon then turns to another dire threat to capitalism and that is the Objective school of libertarianism of Ayn Rand. He said “Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism.”

“…is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost — as many of the precepts of Marx — and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they’re really finding quite attractive. And if they don’t see another alternative, it’s going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of “personal freedom.”

Let me now use this youthful over exuberance as a sedgeway back to “Piling on”.

When “personal freedom” is used to avoid the rule of law, or to live off of what others have worked for, we see civilization start to fall apart. We start to lose the rhyme that makes the reason or what we do make sense.

Bannon talks of both the “crony capitalism” and “Objective Libertarianism” as systems which treat people as commodities. As in my terms “de humanizing” humanity – or advancing civilization at the expense of humanity.

Think about it. Objectivism relies upon a select few leaders of industry to control things. All the rest of humanity are but cogs in the wheels of progress. That is not much different than communism where everyone has a job to do and the state tells them what that job is and how to do it.

The point is. It matters not what ideology we have but how we practice it – that is the rhyme to the reason. There is no ideology that achieves perfection without taking into account humanity with all its flaws. In other words it still remains up to us to live within whatever system the current ideology puts up in our way. Laws are simply society’s compromises on freedom. I’m just always looking to support whatever ideology that puts the least obstacles in our path yet advances civilization along the Judeo-Christian path.

I too as I write this understand that because people have the right to free speech it doesn’t mean that what they say is guaranteed to be right.

If we lose the ability to talk with our enemies – to find common ground – to compromise then we might as well.

Have sex with our neighbor’s wife, then shoot him because we covet his car which we then steal, and tell the cops that you saw your other neighbor do it, all the while you are cursing God while worshipping the mighty dollar and doing it all on Sunday. Oh yeah least we forget, we ship our parents off to the re-education center or old folks home because they thought what we did was bad.

Who needs the 10 commandments? They are only the foundation for the Judeo-Christian beliefs which have guided Western Civilization since its conception.

Regards, Bob Carr
Live Dangerously, Tell the Truth