January 12, 2011

Well, to define this man as irredeemable would constitute surrender to biological determinism, the bane of liberal creationists and social constructionists. Liberals will not allow society to “give up” on anyone, not even the most hardened criminals or the dumbest children. Liberals imbue society with immeasurable power to successfully cultivate, nurture, and mold every single individual. It takes a village, from the cradle to the grave.

Attempts to redeem the intractably irredeemable now seem to consume most of our national energies: rebuilding Haiti, bailing out General Motors, turning Afghanistan into a liberal democracy, Leaving No Child Behind….

The can-do spirit for which the USA was long renowned (and that put men on the moon) slipped its moorings years ago. It is now drifting aimlessly in the open ocean, having thrown overboard the essential insight that the success of can-do depends crucially on having some clue about how to do.

We knew how to get men to the moon, but we have no clue”€”not the faintest ghost of a shadow of a clue”€”how to civilize Haiti or make dumb kids smart. Most likely neither thing is possible.

This blithe refusal to entertain the possibility of impossibility in human affairs ascended to conventional wisdom just as US society was decaying down into the condition described by the late Sam Francis as “anarcho-tyranny,” where the state gives up on its primary responsibilities as being too difficult or distasteful and redirects its energies to petty harassment of ordinary law-abiding citizens.

We have 100,000 federal officials telling us what size print we may use on food packaging, but we don’t lock up crazy people anymore, not until they have vented their craziness in some such manner as the January 8th murders.

Even then we can’t cope with them. I just saw a legal expert on TV tell me that legal proceedings against Jared Loughner could drag on for years.

The guy opened fire in front of a street full of witnesses, killing six and wounding another fourteen. In a sane republic under effective governmental and judicial authority he would be tried, convicted, sentenced, and executed”€”or institutionalized for life”€”in a week. We do not live in such a republic.

The mix of infinite ambitions for human transformation with corrupt, decadent public institutions is profoundly toxic. Probably it has already killed off any prospect of us enduring as a nation.

I once posed the question: Will the United States Survive Until 2022? I was too optimistic.


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