I find it effeminate (in the worst sense of the word, if you’ll pardon my choice of it) if a buddy tells me “we can’t be friends if” I really do favor the wrong public leader or policy alternative. Dude! Deciding about policy alternatives is our job. If I haven’t persuaded you at the end of the day, what’s our alternative? Are we ready to go for our muskets? No, today’s alternative is tomorrow. The consent of the governed is a description, not just an ideal. Short of gunfire, nothing instituted cannot be disinvested, otherwise terminated … or nullified by civil disobedience or sheer disregard, for that matter. The order of our world is always fragile; better for us if our friendships are not.
Yet even our delicate old friends sometimes must be confronted: identifying what’s in the hearts of “those people,” so surely that you can dismiss the arguments on their lips, displays overconfidence in your own refinement, not to mention your own intuition!
The refined Mr. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Brahmin who spake of a crisis never being allowed to go to waste, reminded us free range folk that for us it’s the teachable moment that must never be allowed go to waste. In this teachable pre-dawn darkness (already feeling something more like a long night in our national life) with Marxian intellectual hangovers on full display, we can still challenge his side to an historic argument instead of allowing an historic spasm or brawl.
Let’s line up ours and have them line up theirs. Time to do the work. Read a lot. Compare the historical arguments and counter-arguments. Is it James Madison over Karl Marx, or visa versa? John Maynard Keynes, or Milton Friedman? Liberty above equality, or equality above liberty? Bring it on.
The historical truths are on our side. So, like the cartoon citizens alongside Fired Up Fifer, we ought to dance! And maybe, like them (Was my one-man cartoon shop a leftie who couldn’t resist the chance to ridicule?) we ought to smile more!
It really is okay to be enjoying all this.
I admit to feeling weird about pumping this song parody before people even hear it. That’s not the way it was supposed to be, in any of my lifelong dreams of ever having a hit record. “Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years,” quoth the rap now-oldie! Pat Boone, who’s been here for years longer, performs in the soundtrack, along with me (of ShaNaNa, the rest of whom ain’t all gonna be “down with” this) and Jordan Cole, of the 1960s mega-hit makers The Association.
With apologies to vast numbers of my un-reconstructed fellow sojourners of Woodstock Nation, I’m out of the closet and into the fired up. “Ready to go” indeed. Hasn’t it ever dawned on you that our “peace” and Yasgur’s Farm demonstration of the viability of socialism were dependent on a life-support umbilical cord from the Nixon era capitalist grown-ups?
Didn’t you ever come to notice how the robust creation of wealth must be assured before any conversation about its redistribution can even be useful?
To those of my Woodstock cohort who are now aghast at the “tea party” (which more assuredly has “changed the world” than it’s said our misadventure at Yasgur’s farm did) I return that stunned glare, then the sputter: “But… I thought you were smart. I thought you were a nice person!” Being a nice person aligns with being in the fight for the nicest societal arrangement, among all of human history’s rarest gems: limited government.
Like, dig it, man. Some of today’s teapartyers are grown up flower children. Imagine there’s no statism. It’s easy if you try. They may say you’re a dreamer. But you’re not the only one.