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Godly Aspiration

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Friday’s Hillsdale Dialogue was devoted to a discussion of the Electoral College.  Such a discussion involves along trip through The Federalist Papers, because it is a discussion of why we are a republic and not a direct democracy.  The host’s discussion with Dr. Adam Carrington was fascinating on many levels, but the most fascinating aspect to this listeners mind was that the “checks and balances” in the Constitution are not only between the branches of government, but that the government itself is designed to check and balance against mankind’s own worst tendencies and foibles.  As I hear our honorable opposition discuss any number of nearly unthinkable ideas, like doing away with the Electoral College, I wonder if they have ever allowed themselves to consider just how base, as humans, we really are?

On Friday, I wrote about “The Death of Aspiration,” wondering if younger generations truly aspire to anything great.  In that post I wrote, “There is an irony in that.  Generations raised to “feel good about themselves” clearly do not, as evidenced by their lack of aspiration.” It seems that when we are simply told we are good, as opposed to understanding that we are not and working to become so, that we fail to actually be good.  Arthur Brooks has said that happiness is based on earned success.   That means to be happy we have to strive to be better than we are.  But in orer to do such striving, we have to face the fact that we are not so good to begin with.

From my Saturday morning devotional:

Where does that kind of confidence and reliability in relationships come from?  Our experiences of human relationships are littered with examples of lack of dependability and breach of trust.  It’s entirely understandable that we would approach life with suspicion and distrust.

That’s what makes the current raft of ideas form the left so remarkable.  These are ideas that come from a place that ignores people’s obvious flaws.  It has become cliché to note that in my lifetime we have gone from “don’t get in cars with strangers” to using our smartphones to hail essentially unvetted strangers to give us rides.  But clichés are typically true, and there is a deep truth in that observation.  We have moved from a basic presumption of people’s unreliability to people’s reliability.  That is certainly idealistic, but history is littered with idealistic communities that failed.  Failed precisely becasue people are not nearly so reliable as our ideals would have them be.

And this is why Christianity makes so much sense.  It is an ideal based not in wishes and desires, but in the harsh reality of mankind’s deep flaws….

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The Death of Aspiration

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I wonder how many people read that title and thought I was writing about pneumonia.  But the “aspiration” I am writing about is defined this way:

a strong desire to achieve something high or great

In my commentary on the movie “Captain Marvel” I discussed the rise of identitarianism and how that movie reflected that whatever “high or great” was achieved by the movie’s purported heroine was secondary to her discovery of her “genuine” identity.  One must ask what precisely were Carol Danvers aspirations.  One must ask if we aspire to great things anymore.

Consider the college entrance scandal.  The parents involved did not have any aspirations for their children to actually succeed at getting into those prestigious institutions – they were satisfied with something less than success.  Consider the recent discussion of eliminating the electoral college.  That is at root a lowering of the bar to obtain the presidency.  In other words, rather than aspire to win the way candidates have won since the nation was founded, the proponents just want to change the rules to make it easier to win.

Consider continuing efforts to legalize marijuana.  Despite mounting evidence of real problems with it, efforts continue.  I honestly cannot think of anything that kills aspiration faster than routine pot consumption.  I think all of us have at least one friend that spent a decade or so without gaining any serious maturity while they enjoyed their weed.

Consider the “Green New Deal.”  On the surface that seems like it is very aspirational, even if misguided.  But the fact that the response to the problem is socialistic rather than capitalistic reveals a deep lack of aspiration. Which brings me to a tweet from Jonah Goldberg yesterday:

Let’s consider that in a bit more detail.

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Representative John Delaney On Getting On To The Debate Stage

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Former congressman, successful entrepreneur and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination John Delaney joined me this morning.  He’s going to get to 65,000 contributors and make it on the Democratic debate stage and then there will be one very smart “moderate liberal” for the 15 candidates to the left of him to deal with:




HH: I ask you who is the most moderate of all of the liberals running in the Democratic presidential primary who are officially in? If you read this morning’s Wall Street Journal, on health care, it’s John Delaney and Beto O’Rourke. On higher education, it’s John Delaney and Amy Klobuchar. On the environment, it’s John Delaney. So that would make John Delaney the most moderate liberal running. The former Congressman joins me now. Good morning, Congressman. How do you like that appellation, the most moderate liberal running?

JD: Well, I was smiling when you’re saying it, because I’m like, he’s just got, has a way with words, that Hugh Hewitt.

HH: Well, thank you for coming back.

JD: Thank you for having me.

HH: First of all, tell us where you are on the quest for 65,000 donors to get on the stage with my gang at NBC.

JD: Well, we’re making progress. We’re not there, yet. We announced a program last week called the Delaney Debate Challenge, and it says that if someone gives a dollar to my campaign, one dollar, then I will give two dollars to a charity that they select from. And we have 11 charities to choose from as an incentive to get this over with as soon as possible.

HH: How’s that working?

JD: It’s working well, actually.

HH: So where are you on the number?

JD: Well, we’re not actually, I don’t, you know, I’ve been on the road all week, and I’m at my home here this morning. It’s 7AM here, and as soon as I hang up with you, I’m heading into the office. So I’ve got to get kind of a download, but we’re making good progress.

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