Just Above Sunset
February 29, 2004 - Culture Wars Lost
in the streets as the rabble is finally aroused?
Some bloggers use pseudonyms
to keep their identities secret, kind of like the pamphleteers in eighteenth-century America.
This protects individuals from retaliation for having unpopular views, and it prevents controversial ideas from being
suppressed. Heck, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Mark Twain used pseudonyms. In the McIntyre case, the Supreme Court struck down a law that required pamphleteers
to identify themselves, saying there was a right to anonymity in a democracy. (See
United States Supreme Court. No. 93-986
- Joseph McIntyre, executor of estate of Margaret McIntyre, deceased, Petitioner v. Ohio Elections Commission. April 19, 1995.)
Ever since the red-meat style of politics came of age in the early 1980s, the Bushes have kept
guys like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove on the payroll to do their dirty work -- just as most wealthy families have servants to
take out the garbage and feed the dogs. And all along, they've peddled the same
pose: "It's not that we want to pander to the yahoos, but we have no choice.
Politics is such a coarse business."
Well, my friend Ric in
Paris will get a kick out of this observation that the Bush dynasty is quite clearly parallel to the Bourbons. I think that may be a stretch, even if Peggy Noonan, who wrote Reagan’s speeches and now writes for
the Wall Street Journal thinks the Democrats are much like the rabble in Paris who so hated the rightful monarchy of
Of course there is a minor problem with the Bush claim that he was really forced to do this, only recently, by the San Francisco mayor and those Massachusetts judges.
Bill Straub, Scripps Howard News Service, February 28, 2004
WASHINGTON - President Bush pledged to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that he would support her proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage three months before he made Tuesday's public pronouncement, according to Musgrave's top aide.
The White House has said Bush made the decision only after officials in San Francisco and New Mexico presided over same-sex marriages. …
Oops. He kind of wasn’t telling the truth again. Oh well.
“Billmon” above suggests Bush “may want to reflect on the fact that the Bourbon restoration only lasted a relatively brief 15 years, before that Parisian rabble put their old cockades back on and ran the dynasty out of town -- this time for good.”
That’s not going to happen.
We have nothing akin to the Parisian rabble
that lopped off the heads of the Bourbons. Our “rabble” is sedated
-- quiescent, passive, happy in their SUV’s and then home in front of the television watching the last episode of “Sex
in the City” on HBO. Well, the maybe the word for our rabble is “moribund.”
That’s our collective fairy tale.
My friend Ric in Paris did, by the way, comment –
The restoration monarchy was ‘rightful?’ Was it elected by somebody?
How’s that quote go about the monarchy never being able to learn anything? Is it ‘parallel’ enough?
As for we rabble, last week it was lawyers and magistrates in their black gowns out in the streets demonstrating against some stupid government proposal - I can’t remember which stupid proposal because there’s a new one every week. This makes it nine since the beginning of the year. Demonstrations number many more, because some concern last year’s stupid proposals.
There’ll be another stupid proposal soon. José Bové got busted again today.
Ric points out José Bové -- the pipe smoking Roquefort cheese magnate-activist who studied economics out here at Berkeley -- got himself busted again. Yeah, well, that is what he does. (I see nothing on the news wires.)
Ric comments on Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal speaking of Bush (père et fils) and alluding to them as “rightful monarchs” -- but Peg is only echoing the intellectual hero of all conservatives, Edmund Burke, who in the aftermath of the French Revolution gave that famous, stirring speech to Parliament defending the late and now significantly shorter Marie Antoinette as a wonderful, noble woman who would be missed terribly. I think Noonan’s idea is that the Bush dynasty was really chosen by God -- and not by any benighted voters in Florida or even, really, by the US Supreme Court. God chose him. Kind of like the French kings. Well, that’s her view.
And no, monarchs learn little from experience - no need. That’s for the common folk, the rabble.
And Ric notes the Paris rabble is still there. Endless demonstrations. Sigh.
We over here don’t regularly do such things, even during a cultural war:
Footnote – here is what Burke said about Marie Antoinette -
Edmund Burke (1729-1797), born in Dublin, Ireland, was a member of the British House of Commons. After the French Revolution, Burke became an important critic of the Revolution and the effective founder of modern conservative political ideology. Although he had serious reasons for his politics, there is also an element of nostalgia about in his perspectives. In this brief speech he laments the death of the Queen and the passing of an era.
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy. Oh, what a revolution! - and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.
But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
Edmund Burke – 1793
This, by the way, is pretty much how Peggy Noonan sounds when she talks about her former boss, Ronald Reagan.
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Paris readers add nine hours....