Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The bureaucracy, the march and the war
I wrote in advance why I wasn’t marching. (More.) As anti-state as I am I remember the state, the nation, is not the same as the country (the sense of people and place, yes, ‘blood and soil’, that Rod Dreher sometimes writes about), and I’m struck and disturbed by the self-centredness Tom Engelhardt finds among the young that’s replaced the politically and economically muddled idealism of about 45 years ago. (Even though that idealism is dangerous as a good Burkean knows and begat the statism that’s a sin of both the religious left and religious right.) I’m a real believer in states’ rights (not the common knowledge that it’s a cover for racism) and in freedom of association — interesting how the races self-segregate anyway — and I admire what the freedom riders were trying to do, like Trevor Huddleston and the Catholic anti-apartheid movement were doing in South Africa. Government persecution of races is definitely against the harm principle! The early civil-rights movement had a Christian element to it: Dr King and Archbishop Iakovos for example. The later hippy thing had a point — a romantic reaction to the sterile secularism of their elders — but was rootless, destructive and very selfish. Spoilt middle-class teens from 1968 to 1972 looking for a good time. It wasn’t productive like the 1950s and ‘other ’60s’ wrongly identified with JFK were.

It’s good that the young man he talked to sees the state for what it is, a self-serving bureaucracy not ‘serving your country’.

More to the point the American upper and upper-middle classes don’t care about wars in Iraq and Iran because they are not at war. The World War II generation in the US thought it was, whipped into so thinking by British (who were defending their home*) and US state propaganda and Roosevelt’s goading of the Japanese. And unlike World War II and Vietnam there’s not much interest either way because there’s no conscription. Bringing back the draft would be objectively wrong but the results — Vietnam-like massive popular outcry against the war? — interesting to watch.

Again the authentic right was against intervention in Vietnam. Forget dominoes — Communism collapsed under its own weight.

Don’t miss the other good stuff in today’s issue of LRC.

Speaking of Dreher
His answers to the three-question anti-Modernist Christian quiz are the same as mine and yes, that flag-waving church service was blasphemous

*So were the Russians and Ukrainians on the German side fighting the American state’s ally, the militantly atheist USSR. (Of course there were Communists in the American government back then.) Knowing old soldiers on both sides has helped me form my peace views.

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