I drank what?!
There's a ton of stuff rolling around in my brain right now, and I feel the compulsion to write. Unfortunately, none of what I wish to write about can be confined to a single topic, so I've decided to ramble in this and see where I end up.
My thoughts have been turning to the political lately not because there is someone I wish to support in the next election so much as there isn't. This has bothered me for awhile, and I have pondered the question a bit. In politics, I find myself in a wasteland. But when politics becomes a joke, I turn to political philosophy. This means Russell Kirk. As I read Kirk, I find his viewpoints convincing. As such, I consider myself a traditional conservative or "paleoconservative" now. Many of the Catholic writers I like are also paleoconservatives. Plus, I always crack up when Mark Shea talks about "the Thing That Used To Be Conservatism."
Basically, there are two paths you can go down when it comes to politics. The first path is to put Christianity as the cornerstone of ethics, government, and society. The second path is to embrace some utopian ideology. This comes in two varieties today--progressivism and libertarianism. I reject both because I do not think human nature can ever be perfected in this life. People are flawed, so this means embracing a politics of reality. This would be traditional conservatism.
Conservatism today is in bad shape. This is because the bright lights of Kirk and Buckley have left conservatism to the dim bulbs of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and Beck. Devoid of brains, the intellectual vacuum has been steadily filled by those from the ranks of the libertarians. The result is that the GOP looks more and more like a mob of Gadsden flag waving rednecks. I doubt any of them read books.
This brings me to the sad state of education in this country. It is atrocious. Recently, I was told that a child in school asked his parents to homeschool him because he was sick of recess. When I was a kid, recess meant kickball and touch football while the teachers got a smoke in the lounge. But this kid says they have to walk the track to meet a quota on a step counter before they are allowed to play. Naturally, recess has ended by the time those laps are done. UNBELIEVABLE. This is not recess but the heavy handed micromanagement of some technocrat. Is this what we have come to? Recess is now quantified like some Taylorist corporate crap? What ever happened to having fun?
That incident is a big reason why I have embraced paleoconservatism. Here is one of the ironies of life. The utopians always aim for freedom and prosperity. They promise some bright and glorious future where all policies are correct, and everything works out great. The result is that life today becomes a living hell. Meanwhile, conservatives are pessimistic and kinda gloomy because they see humanity and institutions as flawed and will remain so until the end of time. But when they are in charge, things get better. You experience more order, more freedom, and more prosperity. At the very least, kids get to play at recess.
I grew up during the eighties, and I remember Ronald Reagan. That man was not perfect and not everything turned out flawless during that decade. But this is only a problem for liberals to deal with. For conservatives, there is no surprise that the Reagan years were flawed. This is what conservatism teaches. But I can say that those years were better than what came before and what came after. Reagan and Thatcher will always be in my memory as leaders who made the world a better place.
The world turned bad when Clinton got elected. Clinton was the antithesis of Reagan. This is because a leader with debased morals will lead the country down a path of debased morality. When Bush took over, he was little better as his administration was devoted to neoconservatism. Bush was too stupid to ever lead the country to a better place. He left the USA in worse shape not better. Then, there is Obama who is a complete mockery to this nation. He is a decent guy pushing a corrupted political philosophy. He is an intellectual lightweight.
A good leader needs to combine good morals with high intelligence. This is because immorality and stupidity are bad things. It is sad that I have to state the obvious here, but this is where this country finds itself. America is now stupid and evil. It now culminates with a guy like Donald Trump riding high in the polls. Can this country select an even more debased and foolish person than this guy? I suspect that his tenure in the White House would also be turned into a reality TV program.
I've also given some thought to the debate about the environment. Unfortunately, the debate is overwhelmed by the likes of Greenpeace and the environmental pantheists who believe nature is superior to humanity. The converse are the libertarians who believe pollution is tolerable as long as it stays on your property which it never does. Between the liberals and the libertarians, you would be lead to believe that those were your only two options. Nature is either a mother or a slave. Yet, before the debate became this polarized, there was the common sense approach of the conservationists. These were the ones who followed Teddy Roosevelt instead of John Muir, the proto-enviromentalist, or the Gilded Age industrialists who represented the laissez faire approach championed by libertarians today. Roosevelt gave us all those wonderful national parks and federally protected lands. The cool thing is that you can actually go to those places and enjoy. Muir would have locked them away like Area 51.
Finally, I am disheartened and discouraged by the synod on the family which is looking more and more like a cabal of heretics with orthodox bishops and cardinals invited to watch and weep as church teaching is trashed. And where is Pope Francis in all of this? Stacking the deck in favor of the heretics. It just boggles the mind. All I can do is pray and cry.