You are currently viewing archive for April 2006
Category: About the Blog
Posted by: an okie gardener
I am a Christian of the Reformed persuasion, married, middle-aged, three grown children, who gardens organically. I was raised on a farm in Missouri, have a Ph.D. in religion, and teach online classes part-time. I am white and am pastor of an Indian (Native American) congregation in Oklahoma. Politically I am Reformed, believe Revolutionary-era republicanism to be one of the most brilliant creations of the human mind, and resonate with agrarian populism. Presidents I admire: Washington, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Reagan. Theologians I admire: Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Barth, Reinhold Niebuhr.
In my lifetime I've heard and read Christian apocalyptic preachers and writers portray Soviet armies surrounding Jerusalem in prelude to the End, sometimes Soviet & Chinese troops (Gog and Magog). I've heard and read the Antichrist and the Beast identified with almost everyone from Henry Kissinger to the EU to supercomputers. Now, books and lecturers are appearing with Iran and its current leader cast in the end-time roles. I am sceptical of the identification, based on past experience, but, durned if the times don't feel apocalyptic: the leader of a trying-very-hard-to-be-a-nuclear-power Muslim nation, who believes himself and his nation to have a God-ordained role in the revelation of the Hidden Imam, threatening to put Israel into a "permanent coma." We have been cursed with interesting times indeed.

It is almost enough to make me nostalgic for the Politburo. At least those atheists did not really want to die. For them the perks were all in this world with nothing beyond. MAD only works if both sides really, really do not want to die. For the Mad Mullahs of Tehran, on the other hand, the right kind of death increases the perks. Once they get nukes, the old models of deterence will not work. If not Armageddon, then at least a dress rehearsal.
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
President Bush has repeatedly cautioned us that immigration is a very emotional issue; it speaks to our core values and national identity. He is right to remind us that we are at our best as a self-governing people when we engage in a “civil and dignified” debate, eschewing “scare tactics” and not looking to make partisan points out of serious problems.

The immigration issue cuts across party lines (or, more accurately, divides the parties internally). Democrats are beholden to labor interests who rightly warn that immigration from Mexico drives down wages, but party leaders are also sensitive to Latinos as an enormous and potentially crucial constituency.

Republicans are also divided. The opposition coalition consists of traditional, nativistic, law and order conservatives--wary of the power of Mexican immigrants to change American culture--and post-911 security-minded conservatives, who worry that porous borders invite terrorism. The proponents of a "compromise" bill are generally free-market conservatives, who see immigrants as a necessary and positive component of the labor force, as well as an enormous potential constituency.

Cultural Identity.
However, the issue that is actually driving the debate, but rarely sees the light of day (outside of the conservative blogosphere), is cultural identity. Shall we be a multi-ethnic, multicultural society celebrating diversity and embracing sustained difference? Or shall we advocate assimilation and a unifying culture and be the “Great American Melting Pot”? Aren't we a nation of immigrants? Yes, we are a “nation of nations,” but can we survive as a nation of multiple sovereign and independent nationalities? This is the key question that places this particular debate squarely in the realm of the Culture Wars? Again, who are we going to be as a people?

For this reason, many Americans felt revulsion when they watched immigrants and citizens marching through the streets of Los Angeles carrying Mexican flags, which Michelle Malkin brilliantly dubbed the “reconquista.” Enter now the "Nuestro Himno," a Latino National Anthem in Spanish. The problem with a Latino National Anthem, of course, is Latino nationalism. Citizens of Mexican descent are good Americans (and good Marines). Immigrants from Mexico and other nations south of the border can be great Americans, just like immigrants from Germany and Ireland and Poland and Czechoslovakia made great Americans, but it takes effort and finesse.

Many of the people subsumed in this movement have a lot to offer us, and we should listen to them with respect and patience. Having said that, this movement must be sensitive to the troubling perception of Latino nationalism. President Bush was exactly right in his comments Friday. Citizens of the United States ought to speak English, sing the national anthem in English and salute the American flag. Mexican flags, Latino National Anthems and May Day protests are not helpful.

Please stay tuned for a post on why Mexican immigration is a unique problem along with a solution-oriented (or compromise-oriented) analysis.

27/04: Ranking Bush

Presidential rankings fluctuate over time. Each generation struggles to understand themselves and find consensus and community by reinterpreting their collective past, which is one of the most vital and noble functions of history. On the downside, our historical figures most often ascend or diminish in our estimation as a result of how we view their actions through the lens of our experience and culture rather than viewing their actions in their own time and place.

If all rankings are slightly deceptive and self indulgent, then attempting to rank contemporary presidents is pure folly. For example, see the Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. poll (circa 1996) that ranked Ronald Reagan in the thirties, which apparently rested on the political views of Schlesinger and his cronies much more than their historical judgment. Although I greatly admire Schlesinger as a scholar, his dismissal of Reagan as a president of note was not only petty but proved silly and embarrassing as well (and he is at it again, read his latest blend of history and politics here).

Other “conservative” polls have come along since then that tried to place Reagan much closer to the top of the list, but part of the problem with rating presidents on whom we voted (for or against) is that we seek to push our objectivity beyond normal human limits. History is best understood and cataloged and interpreted by dispassionate and disinterested practitioners of the art.

Having said all that (and mindful of my hypocrisy), let me indulge in some speculation in terms of ranking President George W. Bush.

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Defining my terms:
A First Level Intellect is aware of the complexities of an idea, event, or problem, knows how to evaluate ideas and evidence, knows the odds against reaching certainty, but is able to reach good conclusions and make an advance, whether that means a plan of action, a new theory, or a historical conclusion; a second-level intellect is aware of the complexities of an idea, event, or problem and discuss them ad infinitum, but cannot reach good conclusions; a third-level intellect reaches conclusions in blithe ignorance of the complexities to be worked through. The contrast between first-level and second-level is not the difference between smart and dumb. Both can be very, very smart. The second-rater, however, can only analyze/ only deconstruct; the first-rater can analyze and construct.

(Someone has written that most Academics, who have the luxury of hedging their thought with maybes and probably's because their conclusions do not require action, often misunderstand and think they are intellectually superior to those in business or engineering or the military whose thought must lead to specific decisions that are implemented, and so do not have the luxury of stopping with on-the-one-hand ... )

We all have trouble separating style and substance. Liberals may be worse at this than conservatives, to paint with a broad brush. Bill Clinton is very verbal, knows how to allude to ideas and issues without really engaging them, does the indecision in public --damn how complex the world is-- thing very well. And liberals hailed him as a genius on par with Jefferson. Liberals mistook glibness, verbal skill, and persona for intellectual acumen. GW Bush is not verbally blessed, not glib, does not have the persona of an intellectual, and does not do the public dithering --damn how complex the world is --thing. So libs assume him to be a dunce--judging his substance simply on his style. GW seems to me, however, to be operating with a first-rate intellect. He has analyzed the terror attacks on America as an act of war, seems aware that there are no perfect choices, but is able to advance to defensible conclusions and actions.

Here's a theory: I'll admit that Billie Boy is bright, but all I have read from him and about him makes me think that he is a second-level intellectual: by my definitions that means that he knows how to knock ideas back and forth like volleyballs, but hasn't the intellectual bones actually to make up his mind on most things. I think part of the reason for Clinton's last-minute decision-making behavior comes from this quality. I am aware that I may be mistaking one of Bill's character flaws for his intellectual prowess--I did not inhale, I did not have [intercourse] with that woman, we cannot take bin Laden from the Sudan--Bill does not seem able to make the final "do it" decision very often. Perhaps at the moment of decision Slick Willie becomes Limp Willie.

Is it possible that Dick Meyer, "the Editorial Director of," has never read Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America?

Read this story and tell me if you share my impression that Mr. Meyer has no idea that "self interest rightly understood" is one of Tocqueville's (the historical one) most famous maxims.
Category: American Culture
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
In response to "An Okie Gardener's" excellent post, President Bush's Millennial Theology, "Tocqueville" (our contemporary BB contributor) posted a link to an article that also enhances our on-going discussion of why Reagan's conservative coalition is in danger.

The essay, "The Conservative Movement Dragged Down" (by Bruce Bartlett, an architect of the conservative jihad against President Bush), deserves a closer look, especially the following thought:

Citing Jeffrey Hart (who cites Wilfred McClay), Bartlett connects Bush's dissonance with historical conservatism to the President's evangelical Christianity, which, "by its very nature," says McClay, "has an uneasy relationship with conservatism" (McClay, from an Ethics and Public Policy Center conference, "American Culture and the Presidency," Washington, 23 February 2005).

[E]vangelism emphasizes the personal relationship between man and God, disconnected from doctrine and tradition. In short, it is diametrically opposed to the Catholic vision of Christianity, which many conservatives view as being much more compatible with the nature of philosophical conservatism because it is anchored in doctrine and tradition.

Consequently, Bush is too easily able to invoke God in support of whatever he has decided to do. To evangelicals, his understanding of God's word is as good as anyone else's, and so he is perfectly entitled to do so. They view the depth of his belief as the principal determinant of the genuineness of his vision, not whether it is well grounded in a proper understanding of biblical principles, logic and history.

FYI: I heartily recommend the McClay lecture, which is incredibly instructive on the evangelical impulse in American history and more sympathetic than Bartlett to the President, while noting that "evangelical conservatism" poses serious pitfalls as well as "political strengths."
2006 has seen a positive shift in Bush's rhetoric regarding the threat that faces the US. At least GW now is using the term "radical Islam" instead of simply "terrorism." But he still speaks of a small minority having hijacked a "noble faith."
Give me a break. Muhammad and his early followers used military force to unify Arabia which then after his death went on one of the great military expansions of history into the Middle East, across North Africa and the Iberian Penninsula, eastward through Persia and eventually through India, northeastward into Central Asia, and finally with the Turks up through the Balkans and into Eastern Europe.
Religion of Peace? Yes, but remember that the one speaking gets to define the words used. (Always ask, what do you mean by that?) In Islam "peace" is the condition brought into being through submission to Allah. And, Islam aims to bring peace (submission) whether you want it or not. "Peace" in "Religion of Peace" does not mean what an American might first assume.
I am curious as to whether GW believes in his rhetoric at this point, or, if he thinks it politically expedient, or, of he thinks he can help modernize Islam by redefining it.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Most American evangelicals today are "premillennialists." That is, they believe that the return of Jesus will usher in a time of peace and harmony on earth. ("pre" Jesus must return before the "millennium" the 1000 year period of righteousness.) It has not always been so. In the mid-nineteenth century most American evangelicals were "postmillennialists." That is, they believed that the spread of the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit would usher in an age of peace and righteousness prior to the return of Jesus. ("post" Jesus would return after the "millennium") Most of these nineteenth-century postmillennialists believed that the founding and growth of the United States was a God-ordained event as part of God's plan to establish the millenium. As American influence and freedoms (and the gospel) spread around the world, peace and harmony would prevail. Twentieth-century events such as the evangelical loss of influence over American culture, development of atomic weapons, and secularization of Europe helped shift American evangelicals from a postmillennial to a premillennial position.

Listening to President Bush's speeches, especially his most recent State of the Union address, leads me to conclude that the president is a postmillennialist, whether he realizes it or not. In his view, we (the United States) are at work doing God's will to bring liberty to the oppresed of earth. Once the world is democratized, we will have peace and safety (the millennium). The recent electoral victory of Hamas in the PA does not seem to have dented his enthusiasm for democracy as a cure-all.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means that GW is out of step with a big part of his evangelical base. It will be interesting to see if American evangelicals will follow his lead on the establishment of peace on earth through the spread of democracy. For another thing, it means that GW probably does have a sense of being a part of God's plan for the world. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Many of our leaders have felt something like that. Of course, it is harder to compromise when you see the world as the arena of conflict between God and the devil.
Category: American Culture
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
For a review of the earlier Wal-Mart discussions:
"I like Wal-Mart"
and "More Wal-Mart and Crunchy Conservatism."

Hat tip to Tocqueville for sending this provocative piece from the American Spectator, by Mark Gauvreau Judge, "Right-Wingtips Revisited," which speaks to the conservative article of faith that "there are objective standards of beauty."

From the essay:

I believe that there are objective standards of beauty. Furthermore, the man who respects them respects God. As theologians from Hans Urs von Balthasar to Pope Benedict XVI have explored, there is a correlation between beauty -- objective beauty -- and the divine. Beauty causes in us a certain reaction, a quickening of the soul and senses, that make us believe that we are in the presence -- or near the presence -- of the eternal and unchanging.

Beauty is a kind of window, or rather a hint, of the hereafter. I believe that as our culture has become more secular, we have forgotten God as the inspiration to do anything. Either that, or we have so fully bought into the idea of Christ as a downtrodden, beaten, squishy soft liberal who ate with whores and beggars that we have forsaken the idea that he may have also looked, well, beautiful. Objectively beautiful.

Judge also presents the other side of the argument:
But of course, Christ transcended the traditional idea of beauty -- even as he can also embody it. Beauty was now not only an objective aesthetic standard but is represented in the love that goes "to the very end" -- through derision, humiliation, hatred and torture. This beauty, as Benedict writes, "proves to be mightier than falsehood and violence." It is the how the beautiful "received a new depth and a new realism."

But Judge concludes that:
...this did not mean that objective standards of beauty were abolished. This, sadly, is a fact that has been forgotten in our culture, and in much of conservatism.

Yes, Christ wore simple clothes -- but I'd be willing to wager that he was the most physically beautiful human who ever lived, and that He can be found more in Mozart than in rap. We on the right should not be so blinded by reverse snobbery or false ACLU populism that we shrink from being the best.

This piece, which represents a thoughtful strain of neo-traditionalist conservatism, may show the impossibility of holding together the late-twentieth century conservative coalition. American conservatism must be distinctly American to thrive.

Ronald Reagan was arguably the "most physically beautiful human" to be president of the United States, but he fails the white-glove test when it comes to this definition of high culture. Can a Medieval conservatism, with its foundation in Old World Catholicism and Renaissance art and Greek philosophy, ever be more than a minority position in the United States?

That is, can a school of thought that rejects populism, evangelicalism, democracy and Wal-Mart ever overcome the charge of "snobbery" (to use Judge's phrase) and win favor with the most democratic people on the face of the earth? Or is that the thrust of all this? Is this merely political suicide on the part of an element of conservatism that would rather be right than win elections? Would rather be clean than dirty? Would rather be voices crying in the wilderness than face the degradation of pulling levers of power in a world in which the best decision is often the lesser of two evils?

Also, Judge's original "Right-Wingtips," which begins with an attack on the artistry of Gretchen Wilson and in which Judge labels himself a "conservative metrosexual" (and coins the term "metro-con"), is well worth reading.

In the name of full disclosure: I am a big Gretchen Wilson fan.

And last but definitely not least, the reaction piece to the original Judge article from J.R. Dunn in The American Thinker is brilliant and well worth your time. Here is a brief excerpt:

The other thing that leaps from these proposals is their elitism. Both essays [refers to Rod Dreher's "Crunchy Cons" as the other one] make large play of Wal-Mart and the kind of people who shop there. I don’t think I have to explain what’s wrong with this. Conservatism emerged from cult status in the mid-60s by embracing the common values of this country. Either of these proposals would collapse it back into culthood so fast you’d never hear the bang.

21/04: More Baylor

Category: Baylor
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Today (April 21) Baylor inaugurated its thirteenth president, John Mark Lilley. Check out the two-hour ceremony (often taking the form of an ordination) to make a more informed decision as to whether Baylor considers itself a Christian institution of higher learning.

In this article from March 10, Associated Baptist Press offers a thoughtful discussion of the "free-church tradition" and the functionality of the "magisterium" and encompasses the question of whether Baylor should model itself after Notre Dame: "Debate about Baylor's future asks: Should Baptists learn from Catholics?"

The last three graphs of the story are instructive:

So, the question comes full circle. Should Baylor University model itself after Notre Dame? Not entirely and certainly not uncritically, said new Baylor President John Lilley.

“I certainly respect the great reputation of Notre Dame, but I think Baylor should be allowed to grow in its own environment, with its own sense of identity,” Lilley said.

“I’m sure there are lessons at Notre Dame that we should learn and could use, but I think great institutions can develop their own benchmarks. It’s an overstatement to say we’re trying to become the Notre Dame of the Southwest or the Notre Dame of Baptist life. We will go our own way, and follow our own lights.”

Also, if you remember the Baylor discussion from a few weeks ago (click here for a review), please consider this conversation in brief between two Christian friends on the run in re Baylor and inerrancy:

Christian A:

OK, here’s my question: if Baylor has “taught secular geology and biology for 100 years” (by that, I assume, is meant the anti-biblical theory of evolution) and has always employed “religion” professors of the “moderate-to-liberal variety” (by that, I assume, is meant those who do not recognize the inerrancy of God’s Word and who read it [when they do] in such a way as to support their own preferences), then why, exactly, is it “a great place to get a Christian education?” What is distinctly Christian about it? And why would a Christian parent want to pay $100,000 to someone in order to have them undermine and subvert everything the parent has instilled in them for 18 years?

Christian B:

Inerrancy is a ticklish subject. Baylor has generally steered away from the fights over inerrancy. Number One: what does inerrancy mean? I trust by inerrancy you don’t mean literalism. I trust that by inerrancy you mean that the Bible is divinely inspired but the product of human hands and subject to human error. That position is consistent with what you learn at Baylor in its religion department.

I would say that Baylor is a very Baptist place. Moreover, Baylor is still a very evangelical Christian place...

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17/04: A Waco Farmer

Category: About the Blog
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Some information about me:

My favorite living American (excluding family members) is Brian Lamb. My favorite historians (excluding friends and mentors) are Eric Foner, David Hackett Fischer, Robert Remini, Gordon Wood, Richard Norton Smith, Joseph Ellis and Victor Davis Hanson. My favorite historical period is Early National. My favorite eighteenth-century American is George Washington; in the c. 19: JQA, Jackson & Lincoln; c. 20: Teddy (TR), MLK, and RR. Other heroes: Tom Landry, John Wooden, Grant Teaff, Nolan Ryan, Muhammad Ali, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.

I have always proudly self-identified as a conservative, but I am mindful that some of my conservative brethren look askance at many of my positions. In the coming split in modern conservatism, my pronounced bent toward libertarianism and evangelicalism may necessitate my estrangement from the movement (but the initiative won't come from me).

I am an American traditionalist and a Southern Baptist. I believe with all my heart in limited government, but my convictions are tempered with a nineteenth-century Whig sensibility. That is, I wonder if Henry Clay's "American System" and a little evangelical fervor might not be the recipe for national revival. I believe in the republican virtues of the Revolution: frugality, integrity, industry, patience, and subordination of self-interest to the public interest (although I often fail to live out those ideals).

I believe in tradition, in general, and the American tradition, in particular, which I contend celebrates synthesis and compromise as well as innovation, independent thought and principled stands. I think Alexis de Tocqueville had it right when he said (and I paraphrase) that the genius of American politics is the ability of the electorate to tack back and forth, adjusting and correcting.

I believe that history has the power to save our collective American soul.

PS: I do not actually own a farm (nor do I possess the requisite skill to maintain one). The sobriquet, A Waco Farmer, is derivative of John Dickinson’s “Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer” and a paean to the affinity of the Founders for agrarian republicanism.

15/04: More McCain

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Two columns this morning discuss the appeal of John McCain as an opponent to Hillary. One is from Charlie Cook, the election guru, and the other from veteran Iowa political analyst, David Yepsen. Both of these pieces reinforce my contention that McCain is likely "the one" (I have once again included my "Why McCain" piece from last month here for review).

Yepsen, writing in the Des Moines Register today, asserts that the conventional wisdom that McCain cannot win in Iowa is off base:

"As with much conventional wisdom, it's wrong. John McCain could easily win the Iowa caucuses and the 2008 Republican presidential nomination for one reason: Hillary Clinton.

"He may be the only Republican who can both win a GOP presidential nomination and then defeat the New York senator, who is anathema to Republican activists. That fact won't be lost on them as they trudge out on a cold January night to pass an early judgment on their party's presidential candidates."

"Here's how it could work: Republicans are likely to take a bath in the 2006 elections. Strategists differ over just how bad, but if it happens, it will spook the GOP and give Democrats the momentum in the race for the White House in 2008. Right now, Clinton leads in polls of the Democratic contest. Many general-election matchups show there are only two Republicans who can defeat her — McCain and Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.

"But Giuliani can't win the GOP nomination. Too liberal. He might not even run. That leaves McCain, who is actually a lot more conservative than his image.

"Whatever quibble the party's right may have with him over old issues and slights will melt in comparison to their fears of President Hillary Clinton picking Supreme Court justices."

Cook makes a similar point and, like Yepsen, also notes that important GOP power brokers are starting to move in the direction of McCain:

"McCain isn't the only one doing the moving. The Republican establishment is showing unmistakable signs of edging his way. When you see Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi taking McCain down to the Gulf Coast to look at hurricane damage and fawning over him at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, while vying with Mississippi Gov.Haley Barbour to see who could suck up to McCain more, you know something is up."

Of course, the reality is that McCain has much to overcome with the GOP base. I continue to hear much more anti-McCain commentary than positive statements among Republican stalwarts. These columns today make a good point: McCain needs Hillary to emerge as the presumptive nominee. Only then will the GOP feel desperate enough to bury the hatchet and embrace the "maverick" senator out of necessity.
Category: From the Heart
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A Meditation on Titian's "Entombment of Christ" (click here to view the painting).

John 19:38-42

Titian’s sixteenth-century oil-on-canvas, The Entombment of Christ, depicts the blackest moment of the early Christian movement: the burial of the promised Redeemer.

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Category: American Culture
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A lot of good points are being made on the Wal-Mart thread. Let me highlight a solution-oriented post from Tocqueville:

"So what do we do? Well, we must strike a balance between respect for private property rights and our other values. How? On the one hand, government should not legislate against Wal-Mart and its ilk (although Japan has sucessfully done this). On the other hand, government should certainly not subsidize Wal-Mart through zoning or tax breaks. Wal-Mart’s a big boy, so to speak, who can take care of itself. We ought to let it compete in a truly free market. And those of us with a bully pulpit ought to use it to encourage Wal-Mart to become a better neighbor and citizen."

That is a moderate and thoughtful response to what is a real and serious problem. Well done.

Also, FYI, Godspy (click here) offers a nice interview with Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons, wherein he is allowed enough space to explain the crunchy con philosophy in some depth. The site also offers a nice set of sidebars with crunchy-con related links.

Also, let me recap my two main points in re Wal-Mart:

1. Wal-Mart may be ugly on many levels, but for folks for whom a few pennies per item add up to something significant at the end of the day, Wal-Mart is a life rope. We can rail against the disease of which Wal-Mart is a symptom, but we need to acknowledge that right now Wal-Mart is extremely important to a large segment of the population whom we do not consider often or understand very well.

2. Generally, I tend to like the people shopping inside of Wal-Mart better than the ones who are outside boycotting. I enjoy meeting America in Wal-Mart.
Yes. I confess. I like Wal-Mart. Not because I reject the widely held belief that Wal-Mart is an essential element in the decay of American manufacturing, labor and popular culture. For the most part, I agree with all those assertions. Wal-Mart helped kill Marlin, Texas. Wal-Mart helps Asian despots exploit their populace. Wal-Mart is unfair to authors and artists. Yes. All those things and more (for an NPR discussion of the "Wal-Mart Effect," click here).

Perhaps old habits die hard. A few years back, when I was in the customer service business, Sam Walton was our guru and Wal-Mart was the standard. Back then you could walk into any Wal-Mart, USA and ask for the motor oil in the home and garden section and the Wal-Mart employee would smile at you and assure you that any rational person could have made that mistake and graciously lead you to the automotive section and deposit you in front of the motor oil. “Here you are, sir,” he would say, “forty-eight different brands to choose from. Give me a yell if there is anything more I can do to help.”

Also, Wal-Mart was the place to meet people in your community. In those days, if you stayed in one place in the Wal-Mart long enough, you would eventually encounter everyone you knew.

Today Wal-Mart is a different place with a different ethos. Sam Walton is dead. It has been many years since I have found an employee in Wal-Mart sensitive to serving customer needs or knowledgable of the store inventory.

Wal-Mart as a public space has changed as well. I never see my liberal friends in Wal-Mart anymore. Staying out of Wal-Mart has become a liberal badge of honor; being seen in Wal-Mart is a source of grave embarrassment. And it is not just socially conscious liberals. Green Conservatives (or “Crunchy Cons”) are increasingly critical and judgmental of Wal-Mart, seeing the massive corporation as the symbol of soulless and destructive hyper-consumerism.

Today only the market-oriented, Wall Street Journal types seem likely to defend Wal-Mart, although I seldom see those people in the store either. Perhaps we would expect to see some neo-cons buying maps of Iraq and Syria or the latest Harry Potter book or DVD, but they seem to be staying away as well.

And that is part of the charm of Wal-Mart today. Wal-Mart has been abandoned by the elites. Once it was kind of hip and trendy for wealthy people to go to Wal-Mart. Now conscientious liberals and "crunchy" conservatives, who are prepared to pay $39.99 at upscale department stores for miniature sport shirts for their toddling children, stay away from Wal-Mart for humanitarian reasons, where working-class people of varying colors buy entire wardrobes of clothes for their children at affordable prices.

The People have taken back Wal-Mart. There is no risk of running into a upwardly mobile executive in a hurry or an obnoxious parent from your child’s private school or a self-important colleague with a new theory. Those folks are gone. Now at Wal-Mart it is just you and the real people of “fly-over” America. Vive Wal-Mart as sanctuary!
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Howard Kurtz has a compelling piece on McCain and his erstwhile supporters today in the Washington Post. I say "compelling" because it is in agreement with something I wrote here a few weeks ago, and it has been a long wait for someone to write something remotely friendly to my position.

Thanks to my good friend, Tocqueville, for calling my attention to this article.