Thursday, February 18, 2016

Waiting for the Moral Revolution

We've heard a lot recently, all of a sudden, about the drugs and heroin epidemic in the white working class. Only, according to Kevin D. Williamson, it ain't just the white working class. It's everywhere, including in the Volvo and trustafarian set.

(I thought that liberals had abandoned Volvos for Subaru Outbacks years ago, but maybe not on the east coast.)

Seems like the driving force, what you might call the "root cause," of addiction in the Subaru set runs more towards "divorce, and addiction in the family" than the failure to find good jobs in the energy industry.

With all this "dysfunction" and "substance abuse" you really get to see the point of what liberals sneeringly call "organized religion." As if listening to NPR and reading The New York Times and babbling today's liberal talking points isn't organized religion.

The fact is that 99.7 percent of people aren't moral philosophers (assuming that moral philosophers are any more moral than other folks). They need to join some sort of moral community to get straight about things. There is no particular mystery about this. Humans are social animals, and they like to be well-thought-of by the people they know. Modern organized religion is a spontaneous means to do this. You join a church or a liberal activist group and you internalize its moral structure, and you behave in ways that win the moral approval of the others in the community. And you go on to have a stable, worthy life that leaves a brace of kids and a passel of grandchildren behind.

The glory of the US is that, by an accident of history, its moral communities have tended to live at arms length from the state and its political power. So churches have tended not to be bureaucratic Departments of State Religion, but entrepreneurial outfits that have had to figure out what ordinary people wanted in the moral community line, and then give it to them.

And yes, people want structure, and rules, and costs. That's what makes a moral community worthwhile.

Of course, not all moral communities are a good idea, and every moral community is one step away from getting in bed with the state to impose its moral code on the rest of society. We are seeing this with our gay friends who are busy agitating to make it a crime against the state to say or do anything against gayness.

That's been the problem with the Left from the beginning. It can't get its mind around the fact that limited government and the rule of law are designed to limit the enthusiasm of people just like them, who cannot see anything wrong in combining the political, the economic, and the moral/cultural into one total system, providing that they are in charge.

System is domination, as the Frankfurters imply, or at the very least, "internal colonization."

According to Kevin, "There were 47,000 lethal overdoses in the U.S. in 2014, almost 30,000 of which were prescription painkillers and heroin." Maybe that's a lot, maybe that's a little. Back in the 19th century, the consumption of alcohol was said to be four times what it is today. And you could get opium without a prescription. You have to think that that kind of consumption led to millions of broken lives and premature death. In those days it was cheap gin that had the working class by the throat. The current heroin epidemic is said to be caused by a crackdown on the overprescription of opioids and painkillers. But is this worse than it used to be?

Here's a thought. Maybe the peculiar placidity of the famous Fifties was due to the government regimentation of World War II. Maybe the government tamed everyone to live good regular lives when it sent a generation of young men into the services to fight Hitler and Tojo. But then the kids of the Greatest Generation grew up in the Sixties and decided to go for more excitement. Or something.

And then the government decided to kick the white working class to the curb and get in bed with minorities and women.

Here's what I think. I think that liberals have so totally messed up America's moral communities, by their moral imperialism the last hundred years, that it is going to take a moral revolution to recover.

And if you ask me what that means, I admit that I haven't a clue. 

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