An Excellent Spirit has taken much time to reflect on what is happening in and to America in the wake of the 2012 Election and the many problems we face and the many issues and hurdles we must overcome or succumb to as we go forward. We find especially helpful and pertinent Roger Simon’s recent column on his PJ Media entitled “Political Change – Revisited” Here Mr. Simon, as usual, deals with the realities of change in America based on his personal journey from a Hollywood liberal transformed forever by September 11, 2001 to a conservative on everything but social values. (Simon unabashedly remains a liberal on social values, he says.) His growing Internet empire, PJ Media includes Instapundit, PJ Media, PJTV, Vodkapundit and other outlets, are all on the conservative side, including some social conservatives on the issues of abortion, selective abortion and marriage.
This brings us and Simon to the question: what will it take for Americans to decide for conservatism and against liberalism and to actually vote that way despite the fear and habits of 50-75 years? While this is a good question, no one seems to have any better answer than Obama. What a shame. Read the whole thing.
Victor Davis Hanson, one of the two towering twins of Stanford University (Thomas Sowell is the other) recently wrote about the importance of being “hip” in our cultural wasteland. Here Hanson really hit it on all cylinders. “The nexus of big government, big money, and globalization has created a new creed of squaring the circle of being both liberal and yet elitist, egalitarian-talking but rich-acting, talking like a 99 percenter and living like a 1 percenter. And the rub is not that the two poles are contradictory, but that they are, in fact, necessary for each other: talking about the people means it is OK to live unlike the people. In short, we can all be just what we profess to be. The key in our world of blue-jeaned billionaires is being hip — or rather at least professing to be hip.”
Then Hanson got down to cases. “But what is hip? Mostly it is a state of mind, a religion, a talk, a look, an outward persona that is the key that unlocks you from the ramifications of your ideology. Hip is like “cool”, whose power I wrote about not long ago: a general sense of tapping into the popular youth culture of music, fashion, food, electronics, easy left-wing politics, and adolescent habit. Hipness is a tool designed to justify enjoying the riches and leisure produced by the American brand of Western market capitalism by poking fun at it, teasing it some, dressing it up a bit to suggest ambivalence over its benefits without ever seriously either understanding their source or, much less, losing them. We feel hip at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but not so much in the organic section of Safeway.”
“Hip” according to Hanson means never having to say you are sorry for anything or anybody. “Hip also plays out as professed caring — worrying in the abstract about all sorts of endangered species, starving peoples, or degraded environments. It is being loudly angry at retrograde forces — white males, the rich, gun owners, Christians, family types, and suburbanites, the sorts who ostensibly crafted the toxicity of Western civilization that you are forced to use and enjoy. Yet embrace hip, and all things become possible. A Martian would see the modern university as an elitist enclave, where life-long tenured professors make lots of money overseen by hordes of even better-paid administrators, that together cause tuition for cash-strapped and indebted students to rise faster than the rate of inflation without any promises that their eventual certifications will result in commensurate good jobs. A non-Martian would instead appreciate the hip nexus of diversity, eco-caring, and gender-neutral inclusivity. Hip is a sort of Neanderthal mentality that is terrified of serious thinking, and thus substitutes the superfluous for the profound.”
This is what America has become about in 2013. The Fiscal Cliff is not real; it is “hip” to be unafraid and unaware of the consequences of doing the same thing over and over again, even if it does not work. (Insanity in the real, un-hip world). We now inhabit a world that is completely dominated by the hip and the evidence is everywhere. Hanson, again, nails it. “Tell an uninformed hipster that Obama wants to outlaw abortion, and abortion can suddenly become very unhip.”
“Hip is furor over Cheneyite Scooter Libby — tried for an Orwellian crime that didn’t exist, and if it did exist, it was committed by someone else — while snoozing through Fast and Furious and Benghazi. Hip is certainly not Halliburton, but most certainly is Solyndra. The unhip Patriot Act, renditions, and Guantanamo are suddenly now kind of hip; so are drone targeted-assassinations — a sort of “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Predator.” If we bomb Iran, we will be OK — if only Snoop Dogg high-fives the mission, the pilots are gay, the bombers run on biofuels, and the shrapnel is recyclable. Let us hope that the outgoing F-22s have a Che logo painted on the side as they blow stuff up.” Better still, let’s blow it all up using WMD’s we liberated from Libya by giving them to Egypt’s hip Muslim Brotherhood to use on the grossly unhip Israel. 65 years is enough. Already!” Read the whole thing for more examples of the foibles of being “hip” and the danger to America.
It definitely is “hip” to re-cycle the indefensible and make it mainstream. Ergo John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, super locks for the worst Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense tandem in recorded history. Warren Buffet is the hippest of the hip billionaires. Donald Trump is crass, misogynistic and a birther. Then there is our President. Hanson says “Barack Obama baffles his detractors. How can one who golfs so frequently, or who vacations in only the most tony resorts, keep haranguing the nation about the transgressions of the one percent? When he sees them stroll by on Martha’s Vineyard, does he jump up and shout out at their mansions: “You didn’t build that!”? How did corpse-man not win the NPR vitriol that nu-cu-lar had in the past? How could Obama in 2006 vote against raising the debt ceiling, in 2008 call Bush unpatriotic for deficit spending, upon entering office promise to halve the deficit by the end of his first term, and then oversee some $5 trillion in new borrowing? Hip: borrowing became “stimulus”; entitlements, “investments”; and paying it all back became “paying your fair share.” In Obama’s case, he is not just black, but black with an exotic name and a liberal ideology, unlike a Clarence Thomas, who is most unhip — being right-wing, not of mixed race, with an ordinary American name (Clarence?), veteran of the prejudices of the pre-Civil Rights south. Could not Thomas shorten his name to just the single Tomré? Or perhaps go the Van Jones made-up route — Van Thomas? In a shallow and superficial America you can make all the money you like without being dubbed selfish or greedy, frequent all the most exclusive resorts without being a one-percenter, and commit all the politically incorrect sins you wish without being tagged a reactionary — but you better try to be hip first.”
An Excellent Spirit is, like Roger Simon and Victor Davis Hanson troubled by what we see coming down the road at America. We are more troubled, however, that America seems unlikely to have any hope of meeting the challenges. After all, we are the Hippest of the Hip. As long as the world has no clue as to what works and what does not, America will probably get away with being the hippest. What happens when truth meets reality and media and reality become ineffective to pass off “hip” as competent, effective and true?
Stay tuned, An Excellent Spirit has more in days to come. After all, it is not “hip” to shoot from the lip. Get it? We’ve got it.