Monday, December 7, 2009

I'd Rather Be in Pasadena

There are lots of things I'd rather be doing today than responding to someone's insistence that we have a big discussion about race. Nevertheless, as Mary Katharine Ham might say, it's on like Donkey Kong. The Dread Pundit Bluto commented on a previous thread:
I read the quote as referring to the inborn ("natural") survival trait that provokes an aversion to mutation and hybridization.
OK, this is one way to parse the word, although not necessarily what I had in mind, as I explained:
There's no need to go into anything "scientific" here, Bluto, since I certainly wasn't trying to get into a conversation with Wheeler (or anyone else) about genetics or heredity. I have already begun to extend this discussion, and haven't yet gotten to this part of it. Here, however, I can briefly say that I understand man to be a tribal creature by nature, prone to appeals of group interest.
While we today may identify ourselves by such labels as Republican or Democrat, Catholic or Protestant, Redskins fans or Cowboy fans, the underlying impulse is tribalism, and it is rooted in a basic sense of affinity that Edmund Burke addressed in his famous discourse about "little platoons." We ought to be able to discuss such things without risking the accusation of endorsing or advocating some particular opinion. But the gap between the "is" and the "ought" is as real as the gap between the reality and the perception. I am certainly no more racist than Charles Johnson, and perhaps a good deal less. Yet CJ evidently decided to advertise his moral superiority by making himself the Caped Crusader Against Racism, beginning with Pamela Geller, and you see what a fool he's made of himself in the process.
Thank God for foolish enemies and wise friends.
Which is basically what it comes down to, you see. Some people have tried to play the role of tribal chieftain among conservatives, and to decide who is or is not eligible for membership in the tribe. Charles Johnson's attack on Pamela Geller was his opening gambit in an intended purge, and his attack told us less about Geller than it told us about Johnson:
Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has apparently decided that the problem with the conservative movement is that it needs more purges, and Pam Geller at Atlas Shrugs seems to be his designated scapegoat. . . .
Pam is a good person and I would suggest that this guilt-by-association "urge to purge" is antithetical to the best interests of conservatism. You can't build a movement by the process of subtraction.
Let my friends go read "Fear and Loathing at Patterico," and see if they understand how my experience with Dennis Wheeler helped me spot CJ's gambit for what it was. As Benjamin Franklin said, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. Having learned a few lessons in that "dear school," I was ready to administer a lesson.

Well, I'd rather be in Pasadena, with a month of relaxation before the Jan. 7 meeting between Alabama and Texas in the BCS championship game, and I am thankful for friends who contribute to the Pasadena tip jar.

Mrs. Other McCain came into my basement this afternoon and told me that after our budget discussion yesterday, she felt better, knowing that I was in charge. Ah, but who is really in charge? I woke up this morning to discover a commenter asking me to respond to Patterico, an entirely unexpected development. "Angels unwares," anyone?

The Discussion Continues . . .


  1. If it's philisophical discussions and tribal chieftains you are looking for, you need look no farther than AL Gore, whose turn at peotry in his latest offering, Our Choice, shows AL as the truly Renaissance man that he is, or so we learned from Vanity Fair's review. His stanza's reference to shepherds crying brought to mind Tim Tebow, but then again I have a lot of respect for Tim Tebow. I wish I could say the same for Nobel lauraete and Academy Award winner AL Gore. But I digress. Charles Johnson may have chose to become a nut job, but he aint got nothing on AL Gore.

  2. Why would anyone contribute to your trip to Pasadena? Hey, I'm a huge Texas fan and I hold no illusions about going to the game. Truth is, I'd rather watch it on TV to see all the action. Is there another breaking story in LA that calls you there? If not, pay your own way and forget about calling on us schlubs to hit your tip jar for a trip to Pasadena!

  3. Stacy,

    You are planning a west coast blogger get-together if you come out, aren't you?