We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
While I admire his effort and enjoy his examples, I think he mostly misses a simple point, the one Lyndon Johnson made about some Central American dictator: "He may be an SOB, but he's our SOB."
It's pure politics, VDH. Politics is not the place to look for moral consistency, moral energy, or intellectual integrity. This is why many believe a degree of sociopathy and narcissism are required in politics.
(As Ace puts it re Sanford: "You can get away with being a bastard, but you can't get away with being a buffoon.")
To the Left, at least, politics is war in which, as they often brag, the ends may justify the means because they like to believe that they are well-intentioned. "By all means necessary.." etc.
I always grant more trust to those who claim to be self-interested - even if they are lying - than to those who claim virtue.
I'll read the VDH piece later when I have tim'e. But there's no need to struggle to understand the "moral flaws and hypocrisies are played out in the politics of today'.
We live in a system that still functions as a democracy. Unfortunately we've passed the point of no return - 50.1% of the population that is either freaks or deadbeats or has bottomless sympathy for freaks and deadbeats.
From here on out we will only see this get worse. The margins have been exceeded. An increasing number our Our Fellow Citizens will go over to the Dark Side and declare themselve "in need" or "victims" (euphemisms for freaks and deadbeats).
In looking at the issue with a cooler head, I agree with your comments that it was a communication issue. When most people are in agreement, the need to channel disagreement in a productive way does not come up. When there is disagreement, it needs to be expressed in a manner that does not ruffle feathers, unless one wants a flame war.
It can perhaps be broken down into three rules: make no assumptions, stick to the text if you are making a comment about a previous posting, and keep it as brief and concise as possible.
I enjoyed that VDH post especially for two things. First, I don't think the word "hypocrisy" or any of its variants was misspelled even once in the post or comments. Second, one commenter had this terrific quotation from G.K. Chesterton:
"[A] man who refuses to have his own philosophy will not even have the advantages of a brute beast, and be left to his own instincts. He will only have the used-up scraps of somebody elseís philosophy; which the beasts do not have to inherit; hence their happiness. Men have always one of two things: either a complete and conscious philosophy or the unconscious acceptance of the broken bits of some incomplete and shattered and often discredited philosophy.Ē
Thoughts of Stimulus I and a Stimulus II (for those whiners who didn't get a payoff from Stimulus I) take me back to U S History class and the Tammany Hall Era, the Grant Administration, and other notable eras of corruption in U S government.
Of course, those earlier eras of corruption pale by comparison to what is going on in Washington these days, now super-charged by the Chicago and California Scoundrels, lending the whole scene a pervasive fin-de-siecle feeling as the once mighty American Empire is looted from within by those charged with itís responsible governance, prosperity, and national security. Grounds for overthrowing the scoundrels.