This title sounds like the title of a high school civics textbook. It should because a basic civics lesson is missing in the minds of a good many Americans. We have elected leaders, not appointed leaders. Right now, we are supposed to take comfort from the fact that “cooler heads” are misdirecting the President and hiding things from him so he won’t act as is his wont. Nice.
Except that he was the one what got hisself elected. Those of us who believe Trump’s clown car should be closed down nevertheless are even more frightened to see us slip into some sort of rule by cabal, the kitchen cabinet morphed into the Council of Elders.
But then Trump supporters think that is the way the world works and we are no different, all the while chanting “We are exceptional.”
Next day, Sept. 12. Last night Jonah Goldberg talked to a large audience on his book, Suicide of the West, and the ideas in it. Five of us went to dinner afterwards and the consensus was that he glossed over a great many factors and distorted others. The most basic idea in conservatism is that man has always lived as an individual foraging for food and mates. The fact is, man has always lived in groups. He admits that family groups are perforce socialistic – you take care of each other. But when you cease to know people’s names or recognize them, socialism does not work as well as the free market. Left out of that is some sense of blending, which has always gone on. Within families there are always fights over inheritance and who works more hours in the family store or who got new football equipment. Larger societies create institutions to care for the poor and the sick. Goldberg says people are naturally brutish, violent, etc. but then says churches could do the social work, forgetting that churches themselves are part of the social fabric and may decide some people should not get help. I recall an article in the NYT about racially integrated churches in the South running into divisions when questions of funneling charity money into Norther ghettos came up.