- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2000

'With a vengeance'

"What is really driving conservatives wild with selective indignation? Why did Republicans put aside their law-and-order scruples to run riot at the Miami-Dade County Building during the on-again, off-again manual recount the day before Thanksgiving? …
"Why do both Democrats and Republican faithful now tremble with rage? …
"Hardcore conservatives, especially in the reconstituted Confederacy that is the base of their base, well understood that Dubya was their guy. The press forgot, but they did not, that Bush was the good ole boy who dropped in at Bob Jones University and the fella who supported South Carolina's right to fly the Confederate flag… .
"It is the latest episode of the social-cultural civil war of the '60s. It is indeed 'a war for the soul of America,' in the 1992 words of … Pat Buchanan. It is back with a vengeance."
Todd Gitlin, writing on "Back to the civil rights barricades," Tuesday at www.salon.com

Bourgeois girl

"Madonna is moving to Britain, where she is buying an $11 million town house and putting her kids in British schools… .
" 'I've gone through all my sexual rebellion and don't need to do it anymore. I worked it out of my system, it's pretty safe to say,' Madonna told People. Gosh, that's great for her. But the 14-year-old daughter of a construction worker, and millions like her, who during the 1980s took her exhortations to group sex and anonymous fellatio as gospel may not now be in a position to start over in a posh London flat… .
"Whenever conservatives denounced Madonna in her rutting period as a bad role model, the chattering classes and the pop media simply dismissed such concerns as prudishness or creeping Comstockery. And, generally speaking, conservatives were cowed. But very few reasonable people would have disagreed that Madonna herself would eventually grow tired and tiresome in her public sexual adventures.
"To say so before she completed her trajectory was 'too judgmental.' But today, liberal commentators want to give her a medal for adopting bourgeois values that her 'judgmental' critics charged her with trampling."
Jonah Goldberg, writing on "Just Like Ozzie & Harriet," in the Dec. 18 issue of National Review

'Not virtue but power'

"Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Hayek, among whose many contributions to the 20th century was a sustained and animated put-down of most of the usages of the term 'social justice.' …
"The trouble with 'social justice' begins with the very meaning of the term. Hayek points out that whole books and treatises have been written about social justice without ever offering a definition of it… .
"This vagueness seems indispensable. The minute one begins to define social justice, one runs into embarrassing intellectual difficulties. It becomes, most often, a term of art whose operational meaning is, 'We need a law against that.' In other words, it becomes an instrument of ideological intimidation, for the purpose of gaining the power of legal coercion.
"Hayek points out another defect of 20th-century theories of social justice. Most authors assert that they use it to designate a virtue… .
"Hayek goes to the heart of the matter: social justice is either a virtue or it is not. If it is, it can properly be ascribed only to the reflective and deliberative acts of individual persons. Most who use the term, however, ascribe it not to individuals but to social systems. They use 'social justice' to denote a regulative principle of order; again, their focus is not virtue, but power."
Michael Novak, writing on "Defining Social Justice," in the December issue of First Things

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