Saturday, June 22, 2019

How Did Democrats Become the Party of Elites?

https://billmoyers.com/story/how-did-democrats-become-the-party-of-elites/
I found this article helpful in understanding how the Democratic party became "the party of urban, cosmopolitan, college-educated, white-collar, atheist-leaning, socially ultra-progressive voters." It argues that Republicans have pulled a "jujitsu":

1) They
have overturned the Democratic narrative regarding government:


2) They have overturned the Democratic narrative regarding liberal values:
< Beginning in the 1960s, liberals have sought to flush prejudice, bigotry and discriminatory attitudes from society by turning diversity into a moral value and creating a public culture intolerant of misogyny and intolerance. On the surface, that should be a sign of national progress.

But conservatives — with help from an unwitting or overly zealous slice of the left that too often overreaches — took these healthy normative changes and cleverly depicted them as an attempt by condescending and high-handed elites to police our language and impose a politically correct finger-pointing culture.

In effect, conservatives have rather successfully portrayed liberals and Democrats as willing to use cultural and political power against ordinary Americans. They want to take my guns, regulate my business, dictate who I can hire, and tell me what I can buy, which doctors I see, how I live, when I pray and even what I say — so goes the conservative narrative.>

So Steinhorn seemingly would agree with your post, Carson T. Clark He warns that unless Democrats can change this narrative, they will cede power to Republicans for years to come:



And let’s be clear: Donald Trump didn’t originate this message in his 2016 campaign; he simply exploited, amplified and exemplified it better than almost any Republican since Ronald Reagan.

... Somehow Democrats have to come up with their own jujitsu maneuver to once again show that theirs is the party that fights entrenched power on behalf of the little people. Liberals have to figure out how to merge their diversity voice with the larger imperative of representing all of America’s underdogs. These are not mutually exclusive messages.

Democrats can preach all they want on health care and Trump and the environment. But if they don’t correct the larger narrative about who holds power in America — and who’s fighting to equalize that power on behalf of us all — then whatever small and intermittent victories they earn may still leave them short in the larger battle for the hearts and souls of American voters.>




How Did Democrats Become the Party of Elites?

In order to win back statehouses and Congress, Democrats must rewrite the political narrative that now has them on the side of the establishment and Republicans on the side of sticking it to the man.


How did it come to pass that of the two political parties, the Democrats — who have long fought for the underdog, civil rights, consumer protections, universal health care, the minimum wage and for unions against powerful interests that try to crush them — have now been branded in large swaths of the country as the party of the establishment and the elites?

And how did it come to pass that Republicans — whose policies, regardless of stated intent, benefit polluters, entrenched interests and the upper brackets of American wealth — are now seen by many as the anti-establishment populist party which delights in flipping off elites on behalf of the Everyman?

For the moment, keep Donald Trump out of this conversation — after all, Democrats have been hemorrhaging seats in statehouses and Congress for decades. Also set aside any talking points about which party’s policies truly benefit forgotten Americans or which short-term trends show up in the polls.

More important for Democrats is whether they can rewrite the political narrative that now has them on the side of the establishment and Republicans on the side of sticking it to the man.

If Democrats want to regain their electoral stride and recapture defiant voters who once saw the party as their advocate and voice — the same voters they need to establish a sustained governing majority throughout the land — they must think less about policies per se than about how those policies translate to messaging and brand.

Just as consumers purchase products not merely for what they do but for what they say about the people who buy them, voters are drawn to narratives, brands and identities as much as the policies that affect their lives. These narratives give voters meaning, define who they are, and become an essential part of their identity and self-image.

And what’s most toxic in American politics today — as it has been throughout our history — is to become the party associated with domineering overlords and supercilious elites who seem to enjoy wielding power over the rest of us.


To some extent, the Democrats have only themselves to blame for their elite, establishment image.

Few question the party’s need to build its campaign coffers in what is now an arms race for political dollars. But by cozying up to Wall Street and the privileged — and appearing more at ease hobnobbing among them than among those who work in factories, small businesses and call centers — Democrats have sent a subtle message about the people they prefer to associate with and seek out for advice. To many Americans, it reeks of hypocrisy at best.

Republicans, who unapologetically celebrate wealth as a symbol of American dynamism, face no such messaging dissonance.

But perhaps more important is the jujitsu maneuver that Republicans have used to turn one of the Democratic Party’s strengths — its good faith use of government to level the playing field and help the little people — into a weakness.

From the New Deal through the ’60s, the Democrats were able to show that government was an essential tool to correct market inequities, protect the little people from unchecked power and special interests and ensure that the American birthright included safeguards against crippling poverty and misfortune.

Government, most Americans believed, was their defender and their voice. In 1964, according the the American National Election Studies, more than three-fourths of Americans said they trusted government most of the time or just about always. It was the Democrats that stood for grass-roots change and the Republicans who represented the powerful and resistant establishment.

Democrats then expanded their vision of a righteous government by exercising its power to fight segregation, discrimination, environmental blight, corporate malfeasance and consumer hazards — and to advance health care as a right and not a privilege. All of that seemed to follow the New Deal script of government as a force for good.

But with Richard Nixon channeling George Wallace’s racialized anger at the federal government and Ronald Reagan saying that the only way to christen our shining city on a hill is to free up aggrieved entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens stifled by burdensome red tape and regulations, the Democratic association with government began to turn noxious.
As Reagan put it in his 1981 inaugural address, we should not allow “government by an elite group” to “ride on our back.”

For four decades now, Republicans have succeeded in framing Democrats as the party that uses government to bigfoot rather than aid the American people. Democrats may celebrate public servants for keeping our food safe and our lakes healthy, but Republicans have successfully portrayed them as a humorless bureaucrats who salivate at the urge to exert power and control over taxpaying Americans.

And Republicans have very artfully created a counternarrative, turning the market into a synonym for liberty and defining it as an authentic expression of American grass-roots energy in which small businesses and entrepreneurs simply need freedom from government to shower benefits on us all.

Of course the market’s magic may be more mythical than real — given that powerful corporations and interests dominate and exploit it often at the expense of workers — but that inconvenient fact is immaterial to the brilliant messaging advantages Republicans have derived from it.

Indeed, in the Republican playbook it’s the teachers, unions, environmental groups, professors and civil rights organizations that constitute the establishment whereas Koch and other industry-funded astroturf groups are the real gladiators fighting the status quo.
But it’s not just the Democratic association with government that Republicans have used to brand it as the party of the establishment and elites. Republicans have also turned the table on the liberal values that Democrats embrace.

Beginning in the 1960s, liberals have sought to flush prejudice, bigotry and discriminatory attitudes from society by turning diversity into a moral value and creating a public culture intolerant of misogyny and intolerance. On the surface, that should be a sign of national progress.

But conservatives — with help from an unwitting or overly zealous slice of the left that too often overreaches — took these healthy normative changes and cleverly depicted them as an attempt by condescending and high-handed elites to police our language and impose a politically correct finger-pointing culture.

In effect, conservatives have rather successfully portrayed liberals and Democrats as willing to use cultural and political power against ordinary Americans. They want to take my guns, regulate my business, dictate who I can hire, and tell me what I can buy, which doctors I see, how I live, when I pray and even what I say — so goes the conservative narrative.

That their definition of “ordinary Americans” is quite narrow — meaning whites and particularly men — is beside the point because it’s the political branding that matters, not the fact that liberal economic policies and efforts against bigotry and discrimination have helped millions of ordinary Americans.

Our nation was founded on resistance to power, and it’s part of our political and cultural DNA to resent anyone who exercises or lords that power over others.
Taken together, Republicans have successfully defined Democrats as a party of bureaucrats, power brokers, media elites, special interests and snobs who have created a client state for those they favor, aim to control what everyone else does and look down their noses at the people who pay the taxes to fund the same government that Democrats use to control their lives.

And why is this so damning for Democrats? Because our nation was founded on resistance to power, and it’s part of our political and cultural DNA to resent anyone who exercises or lords that power over others.

Read past the first paragraphs of our Declaration of Independence and it’s all about King George III and his abuses of power. Our Constitution encodes checks and balances and a separation of powers. Our economic system rests on antitrust law, which is designed to keep monopolies from crushing smaller competitors and accumulating too much power.
So if large numbers of Americans see Democrats as the party of entrenched elites who exert power over the little people, then Democrats have lost the messaging battle that ultimately determines who prevails and who doesn’t in our elections.

And let’s be clear: Donald Trump didn’t originate this message in his 2016 campaign; he simply exploited, amplified and exemplified it better than almost any Republican since Ronald Reagan.

The Bernie Sanders answer, of course, is to train the party’s fire at banks, corporations and moneyed interests. After all, they are the ones exerting unchecked power, soaking up the nation’s wealth and distributing it to the investor class and not the rest of us.
And to some extent that has potential and appeal.

But remember, most Americans depend on corporations for their jobs, livelihoods, health care, mortgages and economic security. So it’s much more difficult today to frame big business as the elite and powerful establishment than it was when when workers manned the union ramparts against monopoly power. Working Americans today have a far more ambivalent relationship with corporate America than they did in the New Deal days.

Somehow Democrats have to come up with their own jujitsu maneuver to once again show that theirs is the party that fights entrenched power on behalf of the little people. Liberals have to figure out how to merge their diversity voice with the larger imperative of representing all of America’s underdogs. These are not mutually exclusive messages.

Democrats can preach all they want on health care and Trump and the environment. But if they don’t correct the larger narrative about who holds power in America — and who’s fighting to equalize that power on behalf of us all — then whatever small and intermittent victories they earn may still leave them short in the larger battle for the hearts and souls of American voters.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

List of the Roses at Butchart Gardens

We have spent four amazing days on Brentwood Bay, just a couple of kilometers away from Butchart Gardens. We bought a year pass so that we could come and go as often as we wanted. Yesterday I took down the names of all the roses that were labeled. Here's the list. Of course I love almost all of them, but I've starred my  favorites, and put a # for ones I have grown: 

Royal Kate
Warm wishes
Touch of Class
Over the Moon
Precious Platinum
Fragrant Cloud
Midas Touch
Delany Sisters
Grand Amore
*Electron
Berolina
Neptune
Rotary Sunrise
Lasting Love
#Gemini
Royal William
*Bride
*Tiffany
*Sunstruck
Las Vegas
Marijke Koopman
Tahitian Sunset
Smoking Hot
Frederic Mistral
*New Zealand
Excelsia
Timeless
*Coretta Scott King
Mamou Meilland
*Memoire
About Face
Sugar Mooon
Miss Congeniality
Ingrid Bergman
*All my lovin
*Desert Peace
Brinessa
*Queen Mary
Alexandra
*Savoy Hotel
Burgund 81
Elizabeth Taylor
Opening Night
Silver Anniversary
Sunshine Daydream
Lancome
Touch of Class
Maggie Barry
Chrysler Imperial
Always and Forever
Ch-Ching
Jolly
Papa Meilland
Fragrant Charm
#Double Delight
Folklore
Pope JOhn Paul II
* #City of Welland
Chicago Peace
Memorial Day
Legends
Blue River
*Apertif
Pink Promise
Rainbow Niagra
Shi Un
Sunset Ceebration
*McCartney rose
Melody Parfumee
Yorkshire Bank
Bride of England
Marijke Koopman
Gold Medal
*Love and Peace
Schwarz Madona
Oklahoma
*Tineke
Solar Flash
Love
Winter Sun
Just Joey
Fame
Deep Secret
*Peaudouce//Elina
Gardens of the World
Goldstruck
Jennie Butchart
Rosemary Harkness
Loving Memory
LadyLike
Modern Art
*Dick Clark
Paradise
Mr. Lincoln
Halle
Caroline Victoria
Canadian Sunset
*Cherry Parfait
Falling in Love
Mellow Yellow
Lover's Meeting
Shrewsbury Show
Secret
*Karen Blixen
Belami
Touch of Class
Dolly Parton
Rock and Roll
*Radox Bouquet
Playboy
Tuscan Sun
Anna Livia
Bucks Fizz
English Miss
Sheila's Perfume
Tamango
Chinatown
Ketchup and Mustard
Harold McMillan
Stadt den Helder
#Sexy Rexy
Gene Bourner
Livin Easy
Marmalade Skies
#Scentimental
Doris Day
Royal City Rose
City of York
Pink Parfait
#Iceberg
Oh My
Rainbow Sorbet
Lili Marleen
The Times Rose
South Africa
Ebb Tide
Belle Danielle
Easy Going
Margaret Merrill
Bella Rosa
Betty Boop
Lady of the Dawn
Deep Down Red
Day Breaker
Eye Catcher
Our Anniversary
Prairie Joy
Winnipeg Parks
Morden Show Beauty
Morden Ruby
Morden Blush
Morden Centennial
Morden Fireglow
Oh la la
*#Julia Child
Escapade
New Daily Mail
Singin in the Rain
*Sparkle and Shine
Simpy Marvelous
Honey Perfume
Valentine Heart
Eyepaint
Charles Austin
*Gertrude Jekyll --fragrant
Graham Thomas
*#Bonica
Henry Hudson
*Olivia Rose Austin
Heathcliff
*Thee Poet's Wife - fragrant
Trumpeter
Molineaux
Brilliant Pink Iceber
Raf Braekman
#Mary Rose
#Winchester Cathedral
Love song  (awful)
Colchester Beauty
Fisherman's Friend
Sweet Juliet
Fragrant Wave
Swan
Wild Blue Yonder
H.C. Anderson
Burgundy Iceberg
Chevy Chase
Hot Cocoa
*Nicole
Taranga
 Mary Cave
Princess of Wales
Opening NIght
Sheer Elegance

(Others I have grown include Don Juan, Johann Strauss, Rhonda, Pristine, and Peace)

Look at the Help Me Find page to search roses, find information and images: https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/plants.php






Sunday, June 09, 2019

Brague: The Kingdom of Man

ANother title to add to my list: THe Kingdom of Man: Genesis and Failure of the Modern Project
https://www.amazon.com/Kingdo.../dp/0268104255/ref=sr_1_1

Iván Noel "Was humanity created, or do humans create themselves? In this eagerly awaited English translation of *Le Règne de l’homme,* the last volume of Rémi Brague's trilogy on the philosophical development of anthropology in the West, Brague argues that with the dawn of the Enlightenment, Western societies rejected the transcendence of the past and looked instead to the progress fostered by the early modern present and the future. As scientific advances drained the cosmos of literal mystery, humanity increasingly devalued the theophilosophical mystery of being in favor of omniscience over one’s own existence. Brague narrates the intellectual disappearance of the natural order, replaced by a universal chaos upon which only humanity can impose order; he cites the vivid histories of the nation-state, economic evolution into capitalism, and technology as the tools of this new dominion, taken up voluntarily by humans for their own end rather than accepted from the deity for a divine purpose.

Brague’s tour de force begins with the ancient and medieval confidence in humanity as the superior creation of Nature or of God, epitomized in the biblical wish of the Creator for humans to exert stewardship over the earth. He sees the Enlightenment as a transition period, taking as a given that humankind should be masters of the world but rejecting the imposition of that duty by a deity. Before the Enlightenment, who the creator was and whom the creator dominated were clear. With the advance of modernity and banishment of the Creator, who was to be dominated? Today, Brague argues, “our humanism . . . is an anti-antihumanism, rather than a direct affirmation of the goodness of the human.” He ends with a sobering question: does humankind still have the will to survive in an era of intellectual self-destruction? *The Kingdom of Man* will appeal to all readers interested in the history of ideas, but will be especially important to political philosophers, historical anthropologists, and theologians."

https://www.amazon.com/Kingdo.../dp/0268104255/ref=sr_1_1...

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Universalism and Justice

From

The Severity of Universal Salvation

by Taylor Ross


A
mong the most common objections to the idea of a universal salvation—the restoration of all things, as patristic theologians called it—is the thought that so reckless a doctrine of grace lacks any notion of eschatological judgment adequate to the utter depravity of human sin.[1] Essentially, it is a worry that the wicked among us will get a free pass. And it is a justified anxiety. Surely justice for wrongdoing is as inescapable a deduction of reason as it is a running theme throughout sacred scripture. The mistake, then, is not the commonsensical assumption that sin cannot go unpunished, but rather the presumption that classical Christian arguments in favor of a universal salvation lack a clear concept of judgment.

On the contrary, there is good reason to think that apokatastasis, the term of art for universal salvation in Origen of Alexandria and his heirs, entails a concept of judgment just as exacting, just as rigorous, and every bit as righteous as the sort of purely punitive punishment on offer in any version of the doctrine of eternal damnation. To make this case is both to defend the strong claim that all shall be saved and, just as importantly, to chasten those for whom this restoration is already a foregone conclusion. The ancient Christian teaching of the apokatastasis, in other words, is no romantic reverie; it should, quite literally, scare the hell out of you.

Consider Origen’s gloss on the “eternal fire” of which Jesus warns in Matthew 25:41. The Alexandrian exegete characteristically connects the mention of “fire” here to another place in scripture where the word also appears—in this case, Isaiah 50:11. “Walk in the light of your fire and in the flame which you have kindled for yourself,” says the prophet. Origen takes the intercanonical injunction as a clue to what kind of punishment Jesus promises. The eternal fire cannot be something that precedes the sinner himself, as if lit by someone else. Rather, it must be that “every sinner kindles for himself the flame of his own fire,” with his own sins providing the tinder.[2]

Origen, notice, describes an eschatological judgment fitted to—indeed, furnished by—the specific sins of individual souls. Unlike the indifferent inferno in which the massa damnata supposedly languish, punishment is here figured as a radically personal affair—which is, to my mind, just as terrifying a prospect for those of us who have already stockpiled enough sins to keep a fire burning for many ages to come.

But Origen develops the image further. Our sins are not only like straw fed to a roaring flame but like an excess of nasty germs ingested from eating filth which overrun the body and produce a broiling fever. Hallucinations accompany this fever, and the sickly sinner is forced to relive every wrong he or she has ever done as they bubble to the surface of perception. The mind, says Origen, “will see exposed before its eyes a kind of history of its evil deeds, of every foul and disgraceful act and all unholy conduct.” Thus, he concludes, the soul “becomes an accuser and witness against itself,” made to suffer a sickness of its own making.[3] One need only revisit any great work of tragedy to be reminded that suffering a fate fashioned by one’s own hands is far more painful than enduring the blows of a blind providence.

Nevertheless, the point here—as ever with Origen—is that, in its ownmost afflictions, the soul is actually given the chance to suffer a salvation decidedly not of its own making. Which is why, ultimately, affirmation of apokatastasis is never far from the ascetic impulse in his thought. Salvation, for Origen, is a gratuitous event to be sure, but it only ever happens alongside a willingness to die to oneself. The great irony, of course, is that the self to which one must die is only ever a shadow-self, an elaborate fiction we contrive to avoid recognizing our true identity hidden away in God’s wisdom from eternity. As he puts it later in the same text, riffing on the “cup of fury” mentioned in Jeremiah 25:15-16, it is as though God sets before “all nations” a poisoned cup, that “they may drink it and become mad and vomit,” thereby ridding themselves of the shadows they let masquerade as their souls (De prin. 2.10.6).[4] Salvation is purgation and vice versa....

..Suffice it to say, for now, that, as far as Origen and Gregory [of Nyssa] (and not only them) are concerned, any God whose goodness is finally outstripped by its opposite will turn out to be no God at all....

As the great Herbert McCabe, O.P. says, in a context quite different from Origen’s meditation on first principles, the bewildering process of coming to live rightly we call “morality” must be “a matter of enabling people to make good decisions which will be their own decisions.” Morality is about “learning to be free,” and “doing that in any depth,” warns McCabe, “has to take most of a lifetime.”[8] Origen would surely agree; only, he seems much less sanguine than McCabe (and not only McCabe) about what the soul can actually accomplish in the span of a single life. At any rate, regardless of one’s view on the cascade of ages to come, the point, again, is that it would be gravely mistaken to deduce from Origen’s commitment to universal salvation an overly optimistic view of human nature—quite the opposite, in fact.

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Orthodox view of Genesis 1-3, and salvation:

The Orthodox view  of Genesis 1-3, and salvation:
http://www.joeledmundanderson.com/wayne-rossiter-wrote-a-post-about-my-take-on-suffering-heres-my-response/


that Adam (and by extension all of us, since we are “in Adam”) disobeyed and sinned because he wasn’t perfect, and that it was through suffering that he (and by extension all of us) come to a true love and understanding of God—and this is seen fully in the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. d

I discuss that in more detail in my series on Irenaeus here (You can find this series on my blog, starting here), but the point is that my view regarding Genesis 1-3 (most simply put: that we are not sinful because of a historical Adam, but rather that we are sinful because we are Adam—that story explains the state of humanity) isn’t some new and novel view. It has its roots in Scripture itself and it is reflected in the earliest of the early Church Fathers who were insistent on passing on the original Apostolic teaching.>

Includes Anderson's excellent video explanation of salvation using chairs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WosgwLekgn8

Monday, May 27, 2019

Religion, individualism, poverty and wealth



I disagree with his idea that somehow metaphysics and "taking part" are not related; but aside from that I think he's onto something.





https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2016/may/26/the-world-is-getting-more-religious-because-the-poor-go-for-god?CMP=fb_gu

Nominalism, communitarianism, consumerism

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Abortion Debate and Virtue Ethics

"Hence also it is no easy task to be good. For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle, e.g., to find the middle of a circle is not for everyone but for him who knows; so, too, any one can get angry—that is easy—or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way,that is not for every one, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble." (Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, II, 9)

Maybe the reason abortion is such a vexing problem in the U.S. is because we expect to be able to fashion a principle or law about it, which will apply to all people, at all times, to the same extent, at the same time, assuming that they all have the same motives for seeking an abortion. Maybe what we need to do is abandon an action-based ethic and embrace a virtue ethic in regard to abortion.