Update III: Leading Paleoconservative Hails Her Hero (Warning; It’s Not Pretty)

Addiction,Conservatism,Ethics,Free Will Vs. Determinism,Left-Liberalism,Paleoconservatism,Pop-Psychology,Psychiatry

Bay Buchanan, who needs no introduction, has selected an heir and a hero. The choice says a lot about how low paleoconservatism has sunk; how traditionalists have adopted a liberal/therapeutic conception of bad character and conduct. If you do bad things, you’re not a rotter lacking in inhibitions and judgment; rather, you are sick, depressed, addicted. If anything, anyone who fails to recognize your heroism for suffering such afflictions–he (or she, in my case) is the real rotter.

This conceptual hangover conservatives share with liberals. Both factions are in the habit of deflecting from what mediates behavior: personality, probity, values, character or lack thereof. If someone goes off the rails, members of both these divisions will refuse to recognize a character flaw; they seldom make the individual the locus of control. More so than in politics, the reasons for the demise of conservatism and its convergence with liberalism ought to be sought in the adoption of this therapeutic conception of behavior—of wrongdoing, morality, and character.

In a tract that could have been written by Oprah Winfrey, Ms. Buchanan dissolves into a puddle of praise and apologetics for a young man who drank habitually, and, in a deluge of liquor “bumped into a black woman, called her a ‘nigger,’ and struck her in the head with an open hand.” Like all good politicians (or actors), Marcus Epstein quickly got religion on AA, “radically changed his life. … swore off drinking and started attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. He started treating the bipolar depression that had gone undiagnosed until that run-in with the law.” (Convenient timing)

Declares Ms. Buchanan: “Marcus Epstein is one of the bravest young people I have ever known.”

Wow! How many youngsters does Ms. Buchanan know? I suggest a visit to one of the country’s VA hospitals. Or to a military cemetery, where, engraved on tombstones Ms. Buchanan may discover a more traditional narrative of heroism.

Character, grit, a bit of a stiffer upper lip in the face of adversity; forget about it! “[A]fter this incident … I came to fully appreciate his finest qualities,” writes Ms. Buchanan. My sentiments exactly.

Ms. Buchanan, there are other traditionalists around with “exceptional minds, and a remarkable talent for writing,” who endured a lifetime of adversity. Some even hail from outside the American cocoon—from lands where real existential issues are confronted daily. Update III (June 16): As un-heroic and boring as it may seem, paleoconservatives such as Brother Buchanan, Peter Brimelow, Robert Stove and Thomas Fleming have never rolled around in the streets soused, swearing and smacking innocents (let alone women) on the head. In fact, whatever the reader may think of their opinions, these men are gentlemen; they embody grace under the tyranny of political correctness. A movement that produces such personalities should not elevate lesser men (or women).

You can tell a movement by its heroes.

As my Afrikaner male friends would say in an expression of disgust, “Sis, man” (Especially with reference to striking a woman.)

Update I: To be clear: My case rests not on the ins-and-outs of the legal spat and its merits, but on the character of the individual, and on the manner in which conservatives have taken to the therapeutic idiom like ducks to water—or like liberals (no need to insult the ducks).

Many of the people I know have held more radical views than Epstein for twice or thrice as long, but have never clashed with the law—not because they revere or even respect it; au contraire, but because of a conservative view of how you conduct yourself. Call it good, old-fashioned discipline.

The idea that you blame your failings on the Other Side or on a substance is … quintessentially liberal.

The left defends its “heroes”; we defend ours. Sadly, we do so based on the same, shared, faulty premise. That’s where we go wrong. The left was always wrong.

Update II: I’m all for forgiveness; but not the instant clemency Christianity offers these days. No sooner has someone offended than he is swept up in a wave of love. I’m not a Christian, so I have no clue as to whether Christian expiation was supposed to be a Federal Express easy ride.

A Jew can’t expect to get to the Pearly Gates if he does bad things. In Judaism, your actions determine your fate on earth and in the hereafter (the first being far more important than the last).

I don’t wish this debate to take on a theological bent; so don’t pursue this except in the narrow sense.

Doing the obligatory stuff to extricate yourself from a legal bind, including going into rehab—this does not count as atonement. Thus, it is wrong for Ms. Buchanan to get huffy over Epstein being dropped from law school, subsequent to the episode, as I understand it. A paleo mother Hen, as she is to Epstein, should accept that adversity will be character-building for her errant protege.

12 thoughts on “Update III: Leading Paleoconservative Hails Her Hero (Warning; It’s Not Pretty)

  1. Myron Pauli

    ILANA – I WAS COMPLETELY 100% JOKING – comparing Epstein with Sharansky [or some liberal PC loudmouth jerks with the USSR]! You are completely correct in your analysis on the conservatives mimicking the victimization philosophy of the left. HOWEVER (and on this we may disagree), I have been against the “victimization” language polluting with the affirmative action controversy. Yes, the Anglo-American who has to attend mediocre Cornell instead of prestigious Harvard or lowly Johns Hopkins instead of mediocre Cornell is arguably a slightly marginalized “victim” but it is better to just move on, prove one’s true ability, and be the top at the Cornell rather than wail about whether Harvard took someone less “deserving” [or, for that matter, a complete doofus which ultimately neither benefits Harvard nor the doofus]. The cultural phenomena of self-pitying, victimization, nasty personal attacks, etc. seem to be cross-fertilizing from left-to-right in nearly all spheres of conflict.

    [Your facts don’t support the assertion: there have been a handful of righteous cases over decades of racial set-asides where Anglo-men have sought redress. The perps are banking on the propensity of this genus to go gently into that good night. That’s the norm.–IM]

  2. Vic Jones

    Thomas Szasz posed the question: Why should we pathologize struggles in life? I think he would also entertain the question: Why should we pathologize obnoxious and/or criminal behavior?

  3. Virgil

    I don’t know too much about Marcus Epstein, beyond the occasional article he’d write for Taki’s Magazine website. I certainly hope Mr. Epstein has overcome his own character weaknesses and turned a new corner (as a Christian I do believe in seeking forgiveness and obtaining redemption). If he has overcome his baser self, this is certainly a praiseworthy act, but hardly seems grounds to cast him as a hero. To me, a real hero is someone like Dr. Ron Paul, a man who struggles day and night in the cause of liberty and refuses to sell out. Another man who I have come to view as heroic is the former jihadist turned Christian evangelist Walid Shoebat, who risks his life to call to (true) peace and warn against the dangers of radical Islam and jihadism. Then again, in our modern world, someone who pulls a cat out of a tree is considered a hero, so the word has lost much of its meaning.

    [And in the same vain: Wafa Sultan, Geert Wilders, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.–IM]

  4. M. B. Moon

    Liberty and license;
    they’re really not the same.
    One allows the best in man;
    the other brings on shame.

    [Wonderful; thanks]

  5. Barbara Grant

    I agree that if an “Anglo male” (I think that means Caucasian male of European descent, not necessarily a male who descends from Anglo-Saxons) can’t make it into Harvard, but has admission to Cornell, or what have you, it might not cause him grief to matriculate at the university that accepted him, prove his worth, and move on. In some cases, however, like the CT firefighter, there is no place else to go (unless he wishes to leave town); and if the individual wants to achieve a specific goal, he has to fight.

    The first case I clearly remember in this regard was the famous “Bakke Decision” in California, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regents_of_the_University_of_California_v._Bakke
    in which Allan Bakke sued for not being admitted to a UC medical school based on his merit, while less qualified minorities were admitted. I specifically remember this because I was the president of a very large community college student body at the time, and was asked to protest Bakke, which I refused to do.

    For the record, I believe that racial and gender discrimination does indeed exist; I could share my stories but this is not the place. However, tearing down qualified individuals is not the way to go.

  6. Roger Chaillet

    Had Marcus been a rap “musician,” then all would have been forgiven.

    Interesting how contemporary tribalism operates.

    You can say and do the most obscene things imaginable, but all is OK or at least tolerated because you are airing it within the boundaries of the tribe.

    Sardonic humor aside, the young man is going to have to wear a hairshirt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilice for a long time to expiate his sins.

  7. Myron Pauli

    Barbara and Ilana: While 20% of affirmative action may be justified, 80% or more is nonsense. Bakke got rejected with a score of 468/500 but (see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regents_of_the_University_of_California_v._Bakke)
    later became a resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN which is certainly not shabby and later became an anesthesiologist in Rochester.MN. The website http://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Allan_Bakke.html
    gave him 4 stars. However, the minority who was chosen over Allan Bakke, Patrick Chavis was a collossal flop (www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin080702.asp ) thus justice won out in the end. Consider also Robert Aumann
    and 8 other Nobel Laureates: “In the years when top-flight private schools were restricted to the children of the Protestant Establishment, thousands of brilliant individuals (especially Jewish students) attended City College because they had no other option. CCNY’s academic excellence and status as a working-class school earned it the titles ‘Harvard of the Proletariat’, the ‘poor man’s Harvard’, and ‘Harvard-on-the-Hudson’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_College_of_New_York) but sadly
    “During a 1969 takeover of South campus, under threat of a riot, African American and Puerto Rican activists and their white allies demanded, among other policy changes, that City College implement an aggressive affirmative action program..”
    I like to think that the best attitude is: “Don’t get mad, get even!”

  8. Van Wijk

    I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.

    –Aristotle

  9. Michael J. Nucci

    I believe it is unfair to ask that a man do any more than apologize and get himself sober, which it appears Mr. Epstein did. Although I do not know the particulars regarding the case for inacceptance to law school it would surely be a witch hunt and more likely a result of his expressed views than the incident in question. I am in agreement that his actions do not make him a hero but nor do they make him a villain.

    [As I understand it, he was accepted initially, but then when the case was revealed, things changed. Hardly unreasonable.]

  10. Virgil

    I’m all for forgiveness; but not the instant clemency Christianity offers these days. No sooner has someone offended than he is swept up in a wave of love. I’m not a Christian, so I have no clue as to whether Christian expiation was supposed to be a Federal Express easy ride.

    A Jew can’t expect to get to the Pearly Gates if he does bad things. In Judaism, your actions determine your fate on earth and in the hereafter (the first being far more important than the last).

    Well, in Christianity one’s actions are important as well. Christ said that not everyone who says to Him “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but those who do the will of our Heavenly Father. Christ also noted that on the Day of Judgment that people will be separated into two groups, the “sheep” and the “goats”. This division will be based on the actions or in-actions of people (Matthew 25: 31-46). The Apostle James noted in his epistle that faith without good works is dead (James 2:17). In other words, the perpetually wicked (even if they call themselves “Christians”) will have no share in the Kingdom of Heaven.

  11. Barbara Grant

    The way I have been taught, is that there is a difference between _forgiveness_ and _restoration._ For example, most in the fellowship at Ted Haggard’s former church in Co. Springs forgave him for his sinful conduct; he was not (and will not be) restored as Pastor there.

    [Clarity, as usual. Thanks.]

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