Blood is thicker than...
0 comment Wednesday, October 1, 2014 |
Or at least it should be.
Daniel Larison writes:
In any case, I don�t care which side of the war debate people are on�to turn against your brother or cousin or friend because of Mr. Bush�s War is to let the hegemonists win two unjust victories, as they have managed to sever real, healthy, living bonds between two kinsmen or friends by convincing everyone involved that some lousy political question is more important than their affinities and loyalties to one another. This is to elevate either loyalty or opposition to the state above loyalty to your own, which should almost always take precedence (I would say always, but there are probably exceptional cases that aren�t springing to mind right now that would make such an absolute statement seem a little crazy). Each time someone puts politics ahead of his blood and his people, the horrid ideologues win another triumph. If they can divide us against our own flesh, they can conquer any and all of us.
If I had a brother (I don�t�I am an only child), I would hate to think that I would ever turn against him over some political quarrel, even one pertaining to a serious matter of war. Obviously, I am just about as opposed to this war as anyone can be, but to choose either the War Party or the antiwar folks over your own flesh and blood reveals the far more troubling corruption of our society. I realise that this would hardly be the first time in our history that relatives and friends have taken opposite sides of a political quarrel, but it seems to me that we may be able to locate the ultimate cause of the repeated defeats of local and particular loyalties at the hands of people spouting universalist and idealist claptrap in this tendency of some people to prefer their "cause" over their kindred in the flesh.
Here on this blog and elsewhere, I've discussed the subject of how divided Americans are these days along political lines; it seems, from a traditionalist point of view, that politics (or ideology, in the case of liberals) has almost supplanted the more primal, natural bonds that used to predominate. For instance, as our national culture and identity have been considerably weakened by our liberal culture, and as our kinship/ethnic/racial ties of blood are now being discredited if not made thought-crimes, people identify on the basis of political orientation, and these allegiances assume a strength which they never possessed in the past.
When I was a child, the Republican Party and the Democrat Party were not the bitter enemies they have become now; people differed on certain points of principle, and sometimes joked about the adherents of the other party, but in our present time, these differences have become increasingly bitter and divisive. Members of both parties seem to see each other as The Enemy, while they in many cases bear no such intense animosity towards other nations or peoples. Liberals in particular will happily turn on their own people and side with enemies. Republicans don't go to that extreme, usually, although I have had the 'pleasure' of having a rabid Republican tell me that most of the Hispanics he knew were 'better Americans' than I am. So yes, we have ideology-driven Republicans, too.
The growth of the fanatical devotion to party and ideology coincided with the decline in our national pride, and our ethnic/racial/kinship ties. Is it just a matter of ideology filling the vacuum which was left when it became unfashionable or 'bigoted' to be proud of one's blood heritage and lineage?
Even though many liberals hold the fanatical belief that each of us can create himself, that we are all 'protean' personalities who can be shaped and reinvented at will by ourselves, I think we all have a deep need to belong, and to know our place in the world, to know that we are part of something larger than ourselves. We also have a need, I think, to feel linked to the past and the future, and our family ties and lineages fill that need. We thus feel connected to our ancestors and to our progeny. The fact that many liberals see the past as irrelevant except to be mined as a source of grievances and injustices, and their ancestors are thought of as backward, unenlightened, and bigoted, is a very isolating thing. Again, many liberals choose not to reproduce until later in life, if at all. I have liberal friends, a couple who made a choice, when they were young, not to have children. These people seem to feel disconnected from both past and future, just free-floating individuals. Their main ties to other people are via their liberal ideology: they attend a liberal, activist church and participate in 'peace and justice' causes. I believe most of their friends share their political beliefs. I'm an exception because I have since 'left the left'. I have changed my political views, while they have not. It has strained our relationship, because I know that my views are now intolerable to them, and so we have to avoid anything remotely political or controversial in our conversations. I can't really speak my mind to them any longer, and this makes for a very superficial friendship.
Similarly with some liberal relatives; we have had some heated exchanges on political matters, which usually end up with offense taken and hurt feelings on their side. So far, however, blood is thicker than water, and so we work around our points of disagreement, usually by my biting my tongue and holding back what I might like to say.
In my family, however, even among the liberal members, we hold family and kin in high regard, and we really believe that blood is thicker than water. This holds true with my liberal friends so far, too, although I wonder if I fully spoke my mind, if they wouldn't excommunicate me from their lives.
Some people, bless their hearts, are not that politically minded, and are often too apathetic to get exercised over the latest outrages in the news. But these people, too, have somewhat adopted the liberal mindset which prevails in our society: they see themselves as individuals, not as part of a continuity of the generations, or of our historic culture. Often these kinds of people are non-religious as well as non-political. These people often define themselves in even shallower terms than the ideologues, identifying themselves by the consumer choices they make: wearing a certain style of clothing, driving a certain make of car, living in a certain kind of community, or following a certain sports team or teams avidly,
The fact that our society is now populated to such a degree by the apathetic, unaffiliated people is a problem in itself, too. However I wonder if these people might at least be induced to care about something beyond themselves, and the present moment, given the right circumstances? I think everybody has a hunger for something beyond themselves; even the more nihilistic and hedonistic people. They may not know what they are looking for, but there is a vacuum in their lives.
But those who have filled the vacuum with pernicious ideology like liberalism are more of a problem; they are the true believers, and they are the most intolerant, despite their pretensions to tolerance. The liberals, and I include even the right-liberals and libertarians who believe in the Proposition Nation and multiculturalism and PC, are absolutely closed-minded.
Does anybody ever 'come back' from liberalism? Is their life after liberalism? At one time, I would have said yes; people can be converted. I don't know if I am a typical example of a liberal; I was raised, as most of my age-group, in a very traditional, conservative America, and in a large, extended, loving family, in the pre-PC South where kinship, Christianity, and heritage were honored. So I may not be a typical ex-liberal.
Unfortunately I have seen a lot of 'ex'-liberals and leftists who claim to have seen the light and become conservative, but they have been incompletely converted if at all, and still hold to very liberal-to-libertarian ideas on social issues like marriage, homosexuality, drug use, and abortion. On issues like immigration and multiculturalism, they still hold their 1960s ideas intact. Feminism is still fiercely defended among many Republican women.
Sometimes in considering this question of ideology trumping all, I am reminded of the War Between the States, or the Civil War, if you insist. Was that a question of ideology overriding blood ties and kinship? Certainly there was an ideological element to the War, and we have all heard the cliches about families in which brother fought brother, one in a Confederate uniform and one in the Union blue. I think those cases may have been rarer than we are led to believe; most families knew where their allegiances were. And the fact is, the South and the North were divided from the beginning, with most of the South descending from the Cavalier colonists who came to Jamestown, and the later waves of Scots-Irish, while the North represented Yankee descendants of the original Puritan colonists and later waves of ethnic immigrants. During my childhood, spending time with my mother's Yankee family and my Texas family, the cultural differences were striking, even then. I suspect the cultural differences were even more marked a century earlier, and despite all the homogenizing of America in the 20th century, the differences remain. There were in a sense two different nations, North and South, and they were held together based more on ideological ties than on the deeper, more primal blood and culture ties. So far, history has tended to show that a country can't be held together forever based on the tenuous ties of ideology and 'propositions'.
Ideology, as Daniel Larison says, tends to be poison. And if America is further fragmented, with the introduction of ever more disparate people (thanks to liberal ideologues), the fragile ties of ideology won't be able to keep the tenuous 'proposition nation' together for long.

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