Georgetown University political theorist Joshua Mitchell has written that rare book that captures the state of our souls and describes our situation with clarity, astuteness, and spiritual depth.
“American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time” (Encounter) is a book that expertly combines classical political philosophy with penetrating cultural diagnosis in a manner that holds up a revealing mirror to the great afflictions of our time. At the same time, Mitchell admirably avoids narrow partisanship and undue polemics.
His book deserves to be compared to such memorable achievements as Raymond Aron’s “The Opium of the Intellectuals” (1955), Philip Rieff’s “The Triumph of the Therapeutic” (1966), and Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” (1987)—enduring works that combined theoretical penetration with analyses of our civilizational crisis.
Mitchell’s subject is, in the words of his subtitle, “identity politics and other afflictions of our time.” Readers expecting either accommodation to the regnant civil religion of “transgression and innocence” or an angry ideological screed should look elsewhere. Mitchell aims higher.
With impressive lucidity, he painstakingly examines a new secular religion that is profoundly indebted to Christianity while having “no place for the God who judges or the God who forgives.” Such an approach, he shows, is necessarily cruel, dogmatic, indiscriminate, and unforgiving.
The partisans of identity politics reject both the Christian understanding of original sin—the observable fact that no human beings are born without sin and all stand in need of forgiveness and redemption—as well as what Mitchell suggestively calls “liberal competence.”
This is the confidence that individuals endowed with free will and conscience are moral agents who, with the appropriate education and encouragement, can make their way responsibly in the world.
The theoreticians of identity politics derive from Christianity a belief in an “invisible spiritual economy,” but they understand that economy through a doctrinaire conception of transgression and innocence tied to visible groups who are guilty or innocent not because of what they have done but because of who they are.
White, heterosexual men, even “the least among” them, to echo the language of Scripture—the poor, the addicted—are said to be essentially, ontologically guilty. Blacks, women, and persons who identify with the ever-expanding ideological construction called LGBTQ+ are by definition innocent, and forever so, or so it is claimed.
As Mitchell shows, the permanently guilty must resort to “virtue signaling” of the most demeaning sort if they are to avoid “cancellation” or other rituals associated with public humiliation. Not only God but also forgiveness and the whole economy of mutual reconciliation and accountability are thus absent from this “identity-politics accounting scheme.”
Identity politics claims to be egalitarian, but in truth it radically separates human beings in a manner only previously seen in the totalitarian ideologies and regimes of the 20th century.
Identity politics sees no struggle between good and evil in every human heart, as in the classical and Christian understanding of free will, conscience, and moral responsibility. It has no place for the drama of human existence.
Like the totalitarians of old, in numerous institutions in civil society, especially our universities, the new ideologues pronounce who is absolutely guilty—and who is innocent and pure—with a monstrous self-assurance based on the visible signs of evil and injustice (e.g., whiteness and “heteronormativity”).
Such a world—at once racialist and ideological—becomes a perverse spiritual despotism dominated by tyrannical ideological clichés that allow the woke to dispense with “the guilty” with remarkable impunity and cruelty.
The old Christian anthropology cohered naturally with the requirements of liberal competence and civic responsibility since in a “mixed world of purity and stain,” imperfect human beings had to strive to “build a world together,” doing their best to respect one another as persons made in God’s image.
Identity politics inexorably leads to soft or not-so-soft despotism, as the ontologically guilty are swept away and those who “cover themselves with the fig leaf of innocence” become the beneficiaries of an omnicompetent (and arbitrary) state that “allocate[s] resources to the innocents and to their causes.”
Civic responsibility and moral accountability thus have no place in the ideological schemes put forward by the denizens of identity politics. Such a regime—and we are indeed in the process of creating a radically new political order—is at once anti-Christian (or anti-biblical) and profoundly anti-liberal. And it wars with every aspect of our moral and civic inheritance.
Mitchell thus intimates that religious believers, partisans of liberal competence, and conservative defenders of our moral and cultural inheritance put aside their differences and come together to defend the conception of liberty and responsibility, under God, that properly undergirds a free society.
This is the old American synthesis, and it remains eminently worth defending. It is open to men and women of all races since it alone affirms “common humanity.” There is in truth no viable alternative that can sustain liberty and human dignity in a free republic.
Identity politics creates an atmosphere of division and disdain with more than its share of Orwell’s ritualistic “Two Minutes Hate” from his novel “1984.” No one is truly protected from new rounds of repudiation and cancellation. New purge trials undoubtedly await those who play with ideological fire since the innocent can become transgressors at the drop of a pin.
Mitchell shows with great sensitivity that black Americans are among the principal victims of this new ideological dispensation: The “innocent” are always to be treated as “victims,” as persons bereft of moral and political agency.
Drawing on the insights of the Christian and conservative intellectual and community activist Robert Woodson, who is black, Mitchell demonstrates how this newly dominant narrative hurts the most vulnerable by erasing all the “remarkable models of self-help” in black communities.
Gone is the example of those “accomplishments of black entrepreneurs and mutual aid societies during the most brutal racial repression and slavery.”
Black intellectuals such as Woodson are treated as the enemy precisely because they defend a Christian view of sin and responsibility, an authentically liberal notion of civic competence and self-help, and proper pride in the capacity of black Americans to be self-governing citizens in the most capacious sense of that term.
Look, Mitchell says, at what has happened to Booker T. Washington, whose message of determination and self-help is central to the restoration of liberal competence in communities wracked by crime, violence, and despair.
Washington, once a hero to black and white Americans alike, has become more or less a non-person, dismissed out of hand by the guardians of ideological correctness. This, too, hurts “the least among us” and substitutes permanent grievance for the faith in one’s God-given gifts that allows a common world to be built and to flourish.
There is no shortage of memorable gems in Mitchell’s inviting and challenging book. He has choice words to say about the “bipolarity” of the young, torn between unreasonable expectations that they can change the world and fear of the most humanizing face-to-face encounters with other human beings.
He ably chronicles the numerous “substitutes,” as he calls them, that we late moderns turn to—drugs of all sorts, among them—to find happiness divorced from competence and responsibility.
In doing so, Mitchell redeems political philosophy as the truly “architectonic science,” as Aristotle famously called it, the one that knows the city and soul in the most comprehensive way.
In the final words of “American Awakening,” Mitchell reminds us, in light of the coronavirus, that the “prudent wish to protect” lives has nothing to do with creating “a world freed from the curse of death,” an essentially utopian aim that infantilizes free men and women by aiming to create a world without risk or responsibility, with no higher or nobler goal than self-preservation.
It is a world where we defer in a supine way to self-described “experts” and prohibit public worship while permitting allegedly “essential” pursuits.
Mitchell has written an anti-totalitarian classic in the guise of a critique of identity politics (although his book very powerfully provides that service, too).
The essential lesson is clear: There is no liberty, human dignity, or moral and civic responsibility without a clear recognition that “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being,” in the inestimable worlds of the Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
To deny that elementary moral fact is to negate the foundations of a free society—and to succumb to the ideological lie at the heart of every totalitarian regime and ideology. Mitchell’s welcome book shows us precisely what is at stake, and not a minute too soon.
Author : Daniel J. Mahoney
Source : Daily Signal : Identity Politics Ushers in Guilt Without Vice, Innocence Without Virtue
Democrat Voters Are Already Having Buyers Remorse In Georgia
With the Democrat Senate wins in the state, greedy Georgia voters could already feel that $2000 in their pockets. More free money just for electing Democrats. What could be simpler? Yes, they didn’t earn the money, and yes the Democrat stand on the issue was tantamount to a bribe, granted- as was the final stand of the two Republicans. But hey, now that the votes are in the $2000 is on the way, right? Wrong.
Joe Biden wants the amount to be $2000 in total, not in addition. As most Americans already have received $600, that makes the next check only for $1400. But that’s not what Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff promised and viciously campaigned on. Vote for us, they said, get the cash.
It recalls the line from Benjamin Franklin, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.” Well, “the people” (such a nasty concept) have been voting themselves money since Ben’s day. So perhaps he went a little drama queen on us there. But the underlying sentiment is spot on.
FNC: “Georgia Democrats have reportedly already begun fuming over their two new senators, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who were sworn in Wednesday by Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a new report. Both men narrowly won hard-fought races against Republican incumbents in the Peach State, winning control of the Senate for the Democrats in the process. But a major issue raised by critics is that President Biden espoused a coronavirus relief plan that would send $1,400 checks to many Americans – while Warnock and Ossoff campaigned on a $2,000 promise.”
“Warnock and Ossoff made it a point to endorse and exclusively say ‘$2,000 checks,’” Georgia Democrat Oscar Zaro told Mediaite. “A lot of the people in my district voted blue in the runoff for two main reasons. One: Loeffler and Perdue denying us relief during COVID while profiting millions themselves; and two, $2,000 checks.”
Author : Missy Crane
Source : Wayne Dupree : Democrat Voters Are Already Having Buyer’s Remorse in Georgia
Florida Is New HQ Of The MAGA Movement
Former President Donald Trump remains iffy on a 2024 return, but one thing is for sure: His new home of Florida will be “Trump Headquarters,” where he will manage the “Make America Great Again” movement that he started in 2015.
“Florida,” said former top aide Stephen Miller, “is really the perfect place to be the new HQ of the MAGA movement and a launching pad for the president’s next endeavor.”
While there have been many reports that the president, his family, and some top aides are moving to the Palm Beach area to be near him for support and friendship, insiders revealed to Secrets that there is a blueprint to run the political operation from there.
Initially, the plan is to play a role in the 2022 midterm elections, recruiting candidates to run in key House and Senate races and likely in Republican primaries against sitting members who voted to impeach Trump.
Today, @POTUS pledged to be a president for all Americans. It’s unclear how all Americans are served by opening travel from terror hot spots, proposing a giant amnesty, or halting the installation of security barriers along the Southwest border.
— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) January 20, 2021
After that, and should he decide not to run in 2024, Trump wants to play the role of “kingmaker” and help choose the GOP nominee. He’s also looking at building a “Patriot Party.”
Said presidential historian and Trump expert Doug Wead, “If he wants to be a factor, he will be a factor.”
Aides suggested that Trump’s operation, now at his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort, will be a revolving door of influence-makers and GOP officials. In addition to his daughters moving there, there are former aides such as Jared Kushner’s right hand Avi Berkowitz, the administration’s former special representative for international negotiations. There is also a media cadre that he talks to, including Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Newsmax boss Chris Ruddy.
“I absolutely think it’ll be Trump HQ, whether that’s for more kind of grassroots political influence and endorsements, a more high-dollar fundraising/PAC focus, or a hybrid of both. I think it will definitely be HQ for him and his team,” said political consultant and former Trump campaign Florida fundraiser Blair Brandt.
Unclear is whether the Trump corporation will uproot from New York and move to Florida. New York recently moved to cut ties with Trump’s organization.
Welcome home President Trump! https://t.co/sR32xGyK5d
— Florida GOP (@FloridaGOP) January 20, 2021
Brandt, who is also a personal adviser to Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric, said he would encourage a move. In addition to Florida being more welcoming to conservatives, he said that the state is also a good business haven.
“I think symbolically and practically, there’s no reason for them to be dealing with hostile agencies, attorneys generals, governors, and mayors up there when they have so much support and love down here. If they’re going to stimulate an economy right now with the types of jobs, revenues, and exposure they bring to an area, it should be in a place that kind of has their back and is more of a free, deregulated, and conservative environment with strong Republican leadership,” he told us.
Miller told us that Trump has much more to do politically, though he didn’t hint at which direction the 45th president would take.
“He leaves with the certain knowledge that he put everything you have into the mission,” said Miller. “This movement is beginning. This movement is a young movement. It’s still in its infancy and the president — his own journey is still only begun.”
Wead, who has written two books on Trump, said he would not be surprised if Trump ran again.
He compared Trump to former President Teddy Roosevelt, who ran after retiring. “Roosevelt left office but soon resented former President Taft, who didn’t do it the way T.R. wanted it. So, T.R. came back and ran again. That possibility hangs over the head of any Republican who wants to try in 2024. As you know, T.R. split the party and actually won more votes than Taft, the incumbent GOP president, giving the election to Woodrow Wilson. Trump can win or be a spoiler,” he said.
— Doug Wead (@DougWead) January 20, 2021
Author : Paul Bedard
Source : Washington Examiner : Florida is ‘new HQ of the MAGA movement’
Sanders’ Mitten-Maker: My Business Plunged Because We Get Taxed To The Nth Degree
The Bernie Sanders supporter who made the mittens Sanders wore to President Biden’s inauguration, mittens made famous by a photo of the democratic socialist senator sitting with his arms and legs crossed during the proceedings, revealed in an interview that she doesn’t “have much of a mitten business anymore because it really wasn’t worth it. Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government. We get taxed to the nth degree.”
In March 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported of Sanders’ tax-heavy plans for the U.S. economy:
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is trying to expand federal taxation on a scale not seen since World War II, pursuing policies that would end the nation’s run as one of the industrialized world’s lowest-taxed countries. Mr. Sanders’s combination of taxes on wealth, income, financial transactions, corporate profits, payrolls, estates and capital gains would hit rich Americans from every direction. If Congress were to pass all his plans, the total U.S. tax burden—including federal, state and local taxes—would resemble Canada’s or Germany’s rather than being near the bottom of the pack of rich nations.
Jen Ellis, from Essex Junction, Vermont, told Slate she was “totally delighted” when she found out Sanders had made her mittens famous. She recalled Sanders wearing her mittens a year ago during the presidential primary and some people on Twitter mistakenly gave credit to Sanders’ grandmother for making the mittens, so she tweeted that she had made them and added her Gmail account.
Ellis said that after the photo of Sanders at the inauguration went viral, “People have been contacting me thinking that they can get mittens, and actually they can’t. I don’t have any more, and I don’t have much of a mitten business anymore because it really wasn’t worth it. Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government. We get taxed to the nth degree, and it wasn’t really worth it pursuing that as a business, even.”
Asked if she thought Sanders’ grumpy face reflected an unhappiness that he was not president and Biden was, Ellis responded: “No, I don’t actually think he was grumpy. I bet he was really excited to be there, even though it was bittersweet, right? Because he wanted to be in Biden’s shoes, but I’m sure he recognized the importance of that day and this whole change of power in America and I bet he was glad to be there. He is who he is and not everyone has a resting pleasant face.”
Woman who made Bernie’s mittens says: “I don’t have much of a mitten business anymore bc it really wasn’t worth it. Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the fed’l govt. We get taxed to the nth degree & it wasn’t really worth it.” 🤔 https://t.co/i7LBhHSbJz
— Timothy Sandefur (@TimothySandefur) January 22, 2021
Ellis said she was also delighted that a woman was now vice president, though she wishes she were actually the president.
“I’ve waited four decades of my life — I’m tearing up just thinking about it — to see a woman be vice president,” she said. “I wish that she was president, although I think Biden is pretty great. It was so powerful to sit there with my 5-year-old daughter who I love so much and be like, this is where you enter politics, right? We have shielded you from Trump as much as possible. But this is what we want you to see, a wonderful, successful woman and a woman of color in such a powerful position. It was great to share that with her and my partner who’s also a woman, so we’re just a huge feminist household celebrating this momentous occasion.”
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.
Author : Hank Berrien
Source : Daily Wire : Sanders’ Mitten-Maker: My Business Plunged Because ‘We Get Taxed To The Nth Degree’
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- Democrat Voters Are Already Having Buyers Remorse In Georgia
- Florida Is New HQ Of The MAGA Movement
- Sanders’ Mitten-Maker: My Business Plunged Because We Get Taxed To The Nth Degree
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