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Thursday, November 05, 2020

Underneath, It's All The Same

 As a general rule, I hate "pox on both your houses" takes on politics. Most of the time, I'm inclined to think that a particular person chooses this take because someone else has made them uncomfortable with a certain aspect of their own philosophy. If they adopt a posture of cynicism, maybe they can escape the moral force of that criticism. That could be bulverism in any one case, but I have seen it before, and I can't paint a picture without generalizing. Anyway, I didn't come here to talk about that.

I came here to say that both major parties in the United States--and the people themselves--have embraced the absolute individualism at the heart of classical liberalism. Rightists want freedom from constraint in economics, environment, religious liberty, and a few other things. Leftists don't believe in this absolute individualism with respect to economics or the environment (not to mention religious liberty), but they do embrace it with respect to human sexuality and self identity. If there is a social dimension to the family, this choice is disastrous. In the end though, you don't get solidarity and common good out of a fundamental individualism. You can't get the common good out of an absolute primacy of private goods over the common good. It will not happen. We are facing as a society the frustration of wanting different aspects of the common good, and wanting other citizens and members of society to join us in it, all the while embracing a philosophy where I alone determine what is good, and the obligations which flow from what I determine.

Whatever benefits we receive as a people when Joe Biden is declared to be our next president later today or tomorrow, it must be remembered that Joe Biden was a pioneer in selling abortion rights in the language of individual liberty, classical liberal style. "My body, my choice" doesn't come from nowhere; in fact, it's American right wing individualism, applied to human sexuality.

When I read Conserving America… By Patrick Deneen, the inherent tension between the desire for solidarity, and the commitment to individualism pointed out by David Mayhew in Congress: The Electoral Connection came more into focus.

We will never have social peace, as long as the basis for the government's authority is premised upon individual whim. Moreover, no exercise of that authority will ever be in fact legitimate, unless and until that same authority is grounded in the natural law. "Limited government" is bandied about, without a discussion about the basis for the limitation. Also, the premise that the government's authority is limited to the maintenance of property rights, and an ever shifting batch of personal freedoms, should be examined.

The challenge is, it's awfully hard to re-found a country without anyone noticing. But that's exactly what we need to do.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Final Election Analysis

 We might even say we're mere hours away from beginning to know who will assume the office of president on January 20 of next year. I'll cut right to the chase: I think this is going to be a really big win for Joe Biden. Real Clear Politics has shown a very heavy right bias, in the including of sketchy online polls, and in delaying the release of live voter polls more favorable to Joe Biden. Even so, their national polling average shows the lead for Biden at 7.8%. Keep in mind that if that were to hold, it would be a bigger percentage margin than Barack Obama achieved in 2008. The state polls are tight nearly everywhere, but they show clear leads for Joe Biden. The upper Midwest probably will not make any presidential calls on the night of the election, but Biden's lead in states that Trump should absolutely easily hold in a reelection campaign indicates to me that the president is in real trouble. He achieved a popular vote percentage in 2016 of 46%. He's going to be nowhere near 46% nationwide on Tuesday. You may see a number closer to 43%, or even less.

I will be watching Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona. If any or all of these goes to Joe Biden, the game is over. I also believe that the president is chasing fools' gold in the upper Midwest of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. There is clear movement relative to 2016 toward Joe Biden by the voters who supported Trump in those states. Nor was the president's margin in those states large at all. Any loss of those voters spells doom for the 45th president's reelection campaign.

I originally said that the electoral college would be 340-198 in favor of Joe Biden. I absolutely stand by that, but do not be surprised if the upper bound is close to or beyond 400 electoral votes. This could be a thrashing that no one my age and younger has ever seen.

I do think that the president has a chance to retain Iowa, and Ohio, but the problem is, that he absolutely needs to retain those, even to make a respectable showing. In other words, the doubts about Joe Biden from some in the press during the primaries look almost unimaginably silly right now.

I hope for a happy day for both candidates of the major parties, but I know that only one will realize it. We pray earnestly for grace and wisdom to all four of the members of the tickets, especially blessings and safety upon their families. I pray for the safety of everyone involved in the election, that the virus would not harm anyone, and then everyone returns safely to their families.

And at the risk of presumption, I will congratulate the next president of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.