The layman’s version of: Totalitarian Sentimentality by Roger Scruton from The American Spectator.
By Dean Kalahar
America has faced many defining moments in history including The Revolutionary War, Civil War, and two World Wars. Each has tested the strength, principles, and values that has sustained and built this great nation. In the dawn of the new century, America is faced with the next great challenge that will decide if the Republic will survive or fall like so many other great nations that have once honored our planet. This challenge is different; however, because it does not present itself as a dangerous villain with clear intents, America’s current enemy presents itself as a benevolent friend while it quietly wages a subtle cultural war. Will average Americans realize the danger and challenge this enemy before it is too late, or simply go quietly into that dark night of history. This is the fundamental challenge of our time. This is an American patriot call to action.
Average Americans recognize that a stable society is hard to achieve and easy to destroy. That our way of life is held in place by discipline and sacrifice, and that feeling sorry for the bad habits and poor decision making of criminals is not an act of kindness but an injustice for which all of us pay. The Average American favors punishment and pay back in the criminal law. They uphold traditional marriage and the sacrifices that it requires. They believe in discipline in schools and the value of hard work and military service. They believe in the family and think that the father is an essential part in it. They believe in genuine charity for the truly needy starts with family and religious institutions. They understand government’s limited role as a secondary safety net for the downtrodden, but fear it rewards anti-social conduct and creates a culture of dependency. They value the hard-won legal and constitutional inheritance of their country and believe that immigrants must also value it if they are to be allowed to proudly settle here. Average Americans believe in being prepared to fight wars to enjoy a lasting peace at home and abroad. They do not think that war is caused by military strength, but by military weakness that tempts evil men to believe they can succeed in taking away liberty.
For those who do not understand the values that made America great, average Americans seem to be a tough, severe, unattractive and unfriendly bunch. Because of this, Americans must prepare and steady themselves to be abused and despised by all people who make a different set of “compassionate” values the cornerstone of their moral life.
Elite Americans are of course very different. They see criminals as victims of an unfair social class system where power and control is held by “the rich.” Elites think criminals can be cured by kindness and should not be threatened with punishment. They wish all privileges, earned or not, be shared by everyone. Elites believe children should be allowed to express their love of life, and enjoy their body through self expression, not discipline. They believe marriage and the responsibilities of family have no definition. The elite claim to be compassionate because they view immigrant’s simply as migrant victims who are forced to come here illegally; and so the hard fought legal and constitutional inheritance of America must be “adapted” to extend its protection to the latest victim class. Elites see government welfare provisions not as rewards to those who receive them, but the cost we owe to those less fortunate than ourselves. Elites believe wars are caused by military strength and offensive use of weapons. Elites believe the way to peace is to get rid of weapons, reduce the army, and to educate children in the ways of negotiation, concession, compassion and “soft power.”
Elites see themselves as lovable and compassionate, emphasizing in all their words and gestures that, unlike the “rich,” they are in every issue on the side of those who need protecting, and against the military and corporate industries that together work to oppress. Elites are appalled at anyone or anything that might challenge their self righteous moral standing and will emotionally attack any challenge to their self defined compassionate perfection.
Average Americans know, however, that it is they who are motivated by true compassion because their apparent cold-heartedness actually serves compassionate ends. Average Americans are the ones who have taken up the cause of civilized society, and are prepared to pay the cost of upholding the principles on which everyone, elites included, depend upon. Average Americans will defend freedom based on the painful result of a conscience that will not be silenced in upholding principles of life, liberty, and the morality of pursuing happiness through property rights.
By contrast, elite compassion is displayed, though not necessarily felt by a profoundly self-motivated state of mind. Oddly, the Elite knows in his heart that his ineffective self-serving compassionate “talk,” is a privilege for which he must thank the average American, who maintains the social order that allows for such non-sense. Elites express emotion toward the victim class without personal cost, except when having to prove their sincerity by declaring sympathies in order to regain the free ticket to popular acclaim and approval. This is done because the elite must be surrounded at all times by the warm glow of righteousness and superiority.
Why is all of this important? The United States has fallen from its special position as the principled guardian of Western civilization and joined the club of compassionate do-gooders and elite sentimentalists in the rest of the world who have until now depended on American power. Today in America, we see the very same totalitarian sentimentality that has been at work in Europe, replacing civil society with the state, the family with the adoption agency, work with welfare, and patriotic duty with universal "rights."
The lesson of postwar Europe is that it is far easier to flaunt “compassion,” especially when the U.S. bears the cost of protecting a phony life of leisure and moralizing, so others can admire you for virtues you do not possess. Elites are blind to a hard life of principles in which disciplined teaching, genuine costly charity, and responsible attachment to the nation is fundamental. Elites constantly talk a good game on the sufferings of the poor but do not, on the whole, give their time and money to helping those less fortunate than themselves. Their goal is for the state to assume the burden they claim to passionately carry. The inevitable result of their sentimental approach to suffering is the expansion of the state and the increase in its power both to tax us and to control our lives.
As the state, guided by elites, takes charge of our needs, and relieves people of the burdens that should rightly be theirs, serious feelings retreat and the connection with the humanity of others disappears. To fill this void of genuine compassion based on personal costs of giving and personal responsibility, a totalitarian sentimentality fills the vacuum and aggressively seeks to dominate any opposition by incrementally extinguishing it. The elites’ self-anointed goal is to "solve" our social problems, by imposing burdens on responsible citizens, and lifting burdens from the "victims," who have a "right" to state support. The result is to replace old social problems, which might have been relieved by private charity and other institutions, with new, ineffective programs fostered by an inflexible state. This only increases the nation’s problems which are then taken on by an even larger expansion of government “compassion.” This incrementalism continues until one day American’s wake up to a nation they no longer recognize.
State driven sentimentality has given us mass illegitimacy, the emergence of the gang culture among fatherless youth, and the decline of national identity and sovereignty by the pressure of mass immigration subsidized by the state. The citizens, whose taxes pay the premiums of each special class of “victims”, cannot protest, since the sentimentalists have succeeded in passing hate speech and hate crime laws which place their actions beyond discussion for fear of the cry of “bigotry.” These are just a few examples of an executive, legislative, and judicial coup that can be observed in every area of social life: family, school, sexual relations, social initiatives, and the military. All are being deprived of their authority and brought under the control of soft power demigods who rule from an ivory tower with the approval of other compassionate elites who pay no personal costs as their power grows.
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is another example. The prize is an endorsement from the European elite, a sigh of collective relief that America has at last taken the decisive step toward what the elite have determined to be the modern consensus of exchanging real for fake emotion, hard power for soft power, and truth for lies. What matters in Europe is the great fiction that things will stay in place forever, that peace will be permanent and society stable, just so long as everybody "plays nice." Elite America is welcomed as a savior: the American for whom the Europeans have been hoping -- the one who will rescue them from the truth so they can continue to live in denial of their own human nature.
This is in contrast to the old average American image of national self-confidence and the belligerent assertion of the right to be successful; a property-owning democracy, in which hard work and family values defined America’s exceptional spirit. Good old fashion American ideals are hated by the European elites, and feared even more because Europe needs America and knows that without America, it will die. So the elites, both here and abroad, find themselves in a psychological conundrum destroying the very principles that sustains them, while the average American is faced with deciding on how it will respond to this “compassionate” tyranny. We can only hope and pray that totalitarian sentimentality has no great appeal to the average American, and that they will be prepared to resist a government that seeks to destroy their economy, family, education, and religious institutions for the sake of a compassion that it does not feel in their hearts and yet knows in their mind is evil disguised on wings of angels.
This is the challenge; this is an American patriot call to action.