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Julia and me


The Obama website has a page about "The Life of Julia," supposedly a representative American woman. Over at Her.meneutics, I have a piece about why Julia is a remarkably poor representative for many of us.

Comments:

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Or to put it more pithily, the Left is not statist in the way a monarchist is statist. The left is statist only in the way a galley captain is "rowerist"; a galley captain fears his rowers, and despises them but finds them useful.
In any case calling the Left "statist" is a misnomer, Lee. If anything, the Left is generally hostile to the state as such. The Left is Leftist, not statist. However it is perfectly happy to use the state as a slave whereas it wants to extinguish other institutions.

Political religions have always tended toward an uneasy relationship with the state as such and normal symbols of state power often evoke hatred in leftists. Which is why cops are called "pigs" and Soviets had commissars in their armed forces, and even tried at first to raise the Red Army with a structure that was unrecognizable as an army. It is also why Hitler absolutely hated the General Staff Corps(Nazis weren't leftist exactly nor were they rightest, but they were a political religion). Leftists are "statists" only in the sense that the state provides a source of power. When the state is hostile to their desires, or supportive of traditional concerns, the Left is in fact hostile to the state. When the state is in their hands, the left is usually fearful, and contemptuous of it even when it uses it because most of it's traditions lean toward pre-leftist ideals. The Left is not "statist" in mentality, it is transhumanist, and states are human institutions. The difference is that states are likely to be preserved because they are more useful then other institutions.
Lee, your post encouraged me:

"Appearing just in time to bolster my argument about how defender-beneficiaries of the all-powerful State deal with those whom they perceive to be its critics:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/300614/north-rowan-high-school-teacher-suspended-charles-c-w-cooke"

Thank you! It's refreshing to see that the education establishment actually strikes down wrong-doing sometimes. Tensions are heating up in my school district over dual law suits between the district and a building contractor. It appears to be acting as a catalyst upon the simmering taxpayer anger at the present school district admin. It shall be interesting to watch events unfold.

As for Julia, her alone-ness struck me when I first looked into her life a few weeks ago. As well, the person paying the bills usually decides they also have a right to tell the recipients how to live their lives. Thanks, but No Thanks! I don't want bureaucrats so involved in my life or my children's lives.
fair enough
No, but you're making assumptions about him that strike me as a little unfair. When someone says he agrees with you and that you make interesting points, you might try taking him at his word. :-)
I did not realize I was in the process of garoting anyone, Gina.
Easy, Jason. There are enough people at each other's throats over at the original post. Let's not bring it over here.
The point Lee was not to make any argument but merely to make an observation. It is a wasted effort for you to try to convince me to renounce a position I am not in fact advocating.
Yes it would Lee. We call it Fascism.
I understood your earlier comment, Jason. We are in agreement. But as usual you raise an interesting point: what if everyone worked for the government, as in Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four"? Wouldn't that provide relationships, via coworkers?

Not, as Winston discovered, trustworthy relationships, of course, but hey, that could be added to the next five-year plan . . .
Lee, the point, if you read my remark, was that this was an interesting by-product, not that this was on the whole the general practice. And that the "relationships" I was talking about were the sense of camaraderie between workers not something given out as a product. In point of fact providing relationships as such is not the purpose of government and those who attempt to make it so tend to make it rather more pernicious then need be. Gina's point was that man does not live by bread and circus' alone.
That horse *looks* dead, but . . .
Appearing just in time to bolster my argument about how defender-beneficiaries of the all-powerful State deal with those whom they perceive to be its critics:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/300614/north-rowan-high-school-teacher-suspended-charles-c-w-cooke

She was suspended once this became public. How often have such incidents occurred in high schools in this country without being made widely known, I wonder?

And Jason, in dealing with my son's traumatic brain injury I have found myself across the counter from many a government employee. I have experienced far more perfunctory indifference to his plight than sympathy and relationship. I firmly believe that the loneliness of "Julia" is due in large measure to the fact that those assigned to care *for* her do not actually care *about* her.

Gina, in contrast, has worked hard to go below the shallowness of mere transactional living. Many here know her only via pixels, and yet feel very close to her. QED
In a way of course government can provide relationships. Some of my closest friends are workmates at the library. Of course the library exists for providing books not relationships.
From what I saw of the comments the resentment was not of the point that government can't provide; it was an expression of the loneliness of people who were poor in relationships. Who of course would be the one's disadvantaged in that respect by depending on government.
Positive vs. "positive"
Gina,
Apparently being positive isn't enough; it must be Officially Approved Positive in order to be acceptable.
It is truly a pity that your article was so badly misunderstood, dearest Gina. You definitely and unintentionally touched a raw nerve.

My experience in rising to your defense there reminds me of two things. First, Job 41:

“Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down his tongue with a rope?
Can you put a cord through his nose
or pierce his jaw with a hook?
Will he keep begging you for mercy?
Will he speak to you with gentle words?
Will he make an agreement with you
for you to take him as your slave for life?
Can you make a pet of him like a bird
or put him on a leash for your girls?
Will traders barter for him?
Will they divide him up among the merchants?
Can you fill his hide with harpoons
or his head with fishing spears?
If you lay a hand on him,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!"

Second, that "Leviathan" is the title of a book by Thomas Hobbes, in which a strong central government is controlled by an absolute sovereign, and the subjects have no right of dissent.

Challenging the notion that the government can provide everything, including relationships, is treated as treason in such a system. You can expect those who benefit from the system to deal with you as any powerful government has ever dealt with traitors.

Or, once you've set a hook in the sea monster of the State, as the quote from the movie "Jaws" goes, "You're gonna need a bigger boat."
I never found my Church a community. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but the format of Church services just doesn't give a context for that for me.
Carol, thanks for that. I was all the more flabbergasted by the response because the piece was not meant to be about privilege at all. The idea was bascially, "I've written my share of critiques of the church, especially how hard the experience can be for Christian singles. Let's try a change of pace and write something positive about how it can provide a great community, and how that community can be a benefit and a refuge for people like me."

To have my little attempt at a "positive" piece bring such a wave of negativity is one of the biggest ironies I've ever known in my life.
Too bad
If only Al Gore had invented the internet in the Soviet Union eighty years ago, we could have had "Josef and me."
Gina, I just got around to reading your article in Her.manutics. I wanted you to know that I feel so bad about your reception. It seems so many posters projected their own hurts and humiliations on to you that they never even 'saw' what you wrote.

On the other hand, I want you to know that I've spent the better part of a lifetime learning to understand the fact that so many people did not grow up with the privileges I had, nor have they encountered them in their adult lives. I need to be more careful in assuming that they know what I know, or feel what I feel.

Lastly, REJOICE! "Rejoice when you are persecuted for righteousness sake, for your reward is great in heaven".
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