The eighth deadly sin

Sarah Hoyt urges us to "Get up off the Floor":
And right now you’re going “It’s all done, we’re done, we—” 
Get up off the floor.   First, if you’re a believer, despair is a sin.  And if you’re not a believer, despair is spitting on the graves of all the men and women who fought in much worse conditions than you face.  The ghosts of Tiananmen Square rise up against you.  The men who in the Gulags carried a hope of freedom accuse you.  The victims of communism point fingers at you.   The millions of dead at the hands of marching statism would like to remind you that to give up is to die.  And that’s when you should give up.   Not a second earlier.


Grim said...

There's an absence of practical advice here, though I suppose pep rallies are good in and of themselves. Still, at some point we need a practical program on a way forward if we aren't to wait for the collapse, being prepared to steal a march when it comes.

The problem as I see it is this:

There are no longer shared values underlying our system of government, neither religious nor secular. Even where we genuflect in the same direction, we mean different things by the terms we are venerating. "Freedom" means for one person "Free speech and the right to bear arms," and for another "Speech codes to prevent harassment and abortion on demand."

"I believe in the Constitution" means for one person a strict Federalism and individual rights; for another, an overarching Federal government designed to forge "a more perfect union," and an ever-expanding role in intruding in private space to ensure we are treating each other "fairly."

Both sides have significant intellectual weight and historical traditions to point to here. The one side can point properly to Jefferson and Jackson, to the pioneers and entrepreneurs and inventors. The other side can point to the Union victory in the Civil War and the Reconstruction amendments, which redefined the project into one of the Federal government as overarching master of all; the Temperance and Prohibition movements; the Civil Rights Act, and its continuing oversight of state legislatures' internal apportionment; and a whole host of SCOTUS decisions on sexuality.

"Justice" can mean "property rights and freedom from undue interference, with the law the same for one person as another," or it can mean "redistribution ('social justice') and affirmative action in the interest of creating equality."

We're going to have to sort out this very basic tension, and there are really only four ways to do it.

1) Compromise: can we find a way in which each side sacrifices some of what it considers to be the real moral force of the American project? We really ought not even to hope this is an option, because it implies that we would sacrifice what we believe are our basic rights for peace. This wasn't an option for Patrick Henry, and it shouldn't be for his heirs.

2) Persuasion: perhaps over time people will come to see things our way, or we will come to see things their way. It's good to keep an open mind, but we've (each!) got reasons to believe as we do. Our opponents are not ignorant fools, not all of them in any case: they have reasons, too. It's unlikely we will either persuade or be persuaded.

3) Division: This is the one I've always advocated, because it's built into the system in the 10th Amendment. It would be possible to let states go different ways on hot-button questions, so that Federalism could work for us. Nobody would have to sacrifice their own basic rights; they'd just have to give up on the idea of forcing every other American to adhere to their view of basic rights.

I think most people currently interested in politics take this to be a version of (1). It's not currently on the table, then. But I'm hoping that it might become so, especially if we are in position come the collapse to steal a march and enforce it.

4) Dissolution. The country could come apart in war; even if the political borders held, what came out of it would no longer be the American project. That could be good or bad. On this side of the divide, it's impossible to know with finality. It would certainly be very hard, especially at first; on the other hand, while it would offer the greatest dangers of genuine tyranny, it also offers the greatest opportunity for real reforms.

Hoyt seems to be suggesting that we keep working for (1) or (2), but I think the only real options are (3) and (4). (3) strikes me as by far preferable, but it would be wise to prepare for (4) with a serious mind.

Texan99 said...

She's not offering any specific advice for action, she's asking people to quit giving up for any reason.

Eric Blair said...

I have to say that I find Hoyt overwrought.

Texan99 said...

That is a huge surprise for me.

Texan99 said...

"Sarah, I’m one of those you’re flailing; despair is a sin and I but a sinner. Wasn’t always. Had hope we could turn it around back in 2009. Chaired a Tea Party (dragged Celia into it). Thousands of people in front of the Alamo. Four years later? View the Tea Parties as a failure. Debt [...]

SARAH: Yes, of course. I mean you tried once and for a whole year and the country did not rise up. I totally understand that.
Why, the founding the fathers did exactly the same and went back home to huddle in their cabins with their ammo — which is why we are loyal subjects of her majesty’s.


Ymar Sakar said...

It'd be pretty pathetic for the US to fall to something as weak as democracy after letting the Soviets and North Vietnamese conquer, exterminate, and eradicate the US allies that were still living there.

Then again, even if the US were to prosper off of that, it would still be pretty pathetic.

Ymar Sakar said...

People try too hard to change the world via politics.

To some extent, it is meaningless. For good and light, it is meaningless. For darkness and evil, it may mean something.

Because those of a particular soul caliber can do something evil cannot. Change themselves and in the process, force the world to change as a result.

The Left's evil cannot be defeated when American individuals are still as weak, ignorant, and lacking in hate as they still are. Emotions are strength. It'd be nice to have resources, intelligence, and organization, but first humans must have emotions to fight.