Prior to my having taken the administrative position that I currently hold in a Catholic, all-boys’ secondary college prepatory high school, I was a full-time instructor of British literature for our senior class. Although I truly feel as though the capacity in which I’m currently working is both a good fit for me personally and best serves the interests of the school, I can honestly say that what I miss most about my classroom days is the time that I had to teach the works of William Shakespeare to my students.
Without a doubt, Shakespeare is most likely the single most quoted figure in the history of the English language, and with good reason. The Bard had the unique ability to explore and flesh out the very essence and core of human nature (of course, there is also the continuing academic debate as to who may have actually written these incredible works, but that’s another discussion for another time). Personally, I’ve always found the tragedies to be the most fascinating works of literature that I’ve ever read, because quite simply, as I always tried to show my students, they’re the anguish-riddled, gut-wrenching stories of something that never should have happened, save for the specific human flaw in each of these characters that leads them irresistibly to their own demise.
In the case of the erstwhile Thane of Cawdor, MacBeth (an actual historical figure who did usurp the Scottish throne), we have a man who does, at a reasonably early point following his horrific act, realize that what he’s done is wrong. In fact, were one to study the play closely, a person would probably come to see that even at the very end, MacBeth, a man who at this point has nearly wholly gone over to the forces of darkness, still possesses what we might term the “divine spark” of goodness embedded into the human soul by our Creator. He does, however, realize that he’s made his own decisions and that he’s now obligated to see the consequences through to the end. Indeed, a person could undertake a rather fascinating and quite topical analysis of the play and its central figure in light of the basic ideological debates between the liberal and conservative mindsets, especially in what appears to be the blind leftist tendency to continue down the destructive path that has no turns. Shakespeare’s genius is that we see MacBeth (as well as all of his other famous characters) literally evolve and develop as a human person: he moves from temptation, to finding the allure of power impossible to resist, to villainy and tyranny, to forcing Scotland onto an unnatural path, to determination in the face of what he knows is wrong, to finally – at the very end – realizing the necessity of personal accountability and that the natural course of events must be restored in order for Scotland to flourish once more.
Kinda sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
I reference this play and the lines at the beginning of this article because as we inch more closely toward November, I can’t help but think (and pray) that we’re witnessing the historical watershed of far-leftist thought, at least in America. It doesn’t work. How many examples from history do liberals need in order for them to understand? Facts and math never lie.
But, like Macbeth, they continue stubbornly down the same one-way street, even though they most likely already know how the story is going to end.
About six weeks ago, we up here in little Rhody experienced a natural disaster ourselves, as an unprecedented amount of rain fell on our state over the course of three days. It goes without saying that what’s currently taking place in the Gulf is a disaster of far more enormous scope, as it may conceivably affect the lives of people in that region specifically, and America more generally, for perhaps decades. I find it interesting, though, that while the current administration has been feeble in its attempts to do seemingly anything about solving the problem (except tell us what they might be thinking about doing), the massive, life-altering flooding in Rhode Island was barely a glint in President Obama’s eye.
I guess some crises can go to waste, after all.
See, from where I’m standing politically, what I’m seeing is the cresting of an ideological river, and the flood, I think and hope, is about to swallow the last century-and-a-half of the failed attempts to force the people of the world into a social structure that does not work – how’d socialism/communism work out for the Soviet Union, and how’s Western Europe looking these days? Are all our liberals ready for Greece Part Duex to make its way to our cities? Gotten a look at the protests in New Jersey that are now taking place, in response to a new governor who is desperately trying to restore some degree of fiscal sanity to that state? Those on the Left maintained that the election results in November of ’08 were a mandate from the American people to move the country even further left; I maintain and hope that the mandate that emerges from this November’s elections is nothing short of the leading edge of the call for the end of socialism itself.
Look, I’m not delusional (at least my wife tells me that much); I’m quite well aware that the eternal struggle between Left and Right will always be there, and, I’d even be willing to argue, that that struggle should always exist, because from out of honest debate always comes broadened horizons. As the old adage goes, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” I’m simply hoping that the American people, and to a lesser extent, the people of the world, begin to take the first steps back in the direction of common sense and personal responsibility.
The global political Left has clearly entered a period of what we might refer to as “The Era of Diminished Marginal Returns”, and, given the alleged brilliance of those on the Left, I find it rather shocking that they apparently never quite digested this general mathematical axiom. Simply stated, the principle of ‘diminished marginal returns’ basically states that in any mathematical situation, and especially as it applies to economics, the natural course and development of any numerical consideration reaches a point of optimum performance; in other words, the specific consideration approaches the time when one must consider how much more to continue to “put into” further development, something that we might otherwise refer to as ‘investment’. Once that optimum threshold is crossed (the point of no return?), returns on any additional investment gradually become less significant and worthwhile, leading the rational person to determine whether further resources are worth it. I can speak first-hand to debates of this type, as the school at which I’m employed has had to more recently come to a general consensus as to what student enrollment figure would presently constitute “optimum performance”. Indeed, over the course of the past ten years or so, our school had made the conscious decision to “widen the strike zone”, so to speak, and to try to open up our doors to more students; what we discovered was that despite the extra tuition stream, the quality of what we were providing to the students and their parents was of a decidedly lesser quality. Consequently, as we’re obviously more concerned with the ultimate integrity of our Mission and not the dollars flowing through the school, we returned to our previous admission standard and decided that roughly 900 students seems to constitute optimum performance on a school-wide basis.
Had we continued on that particular path, I’d venture to say that our “tragic flaw” could have been characterized as blind avarice.
Based on what we’re seeing politically these days – quite honestly, stuff that in most cases makes absolutely no sense – it’s not too much of a stretch to view the “diminished marginal return” concept as a metaphor for what’s beginning to happen not so much to this administration, as there’ve been plenty of bad ones in our history; what I’m hoping is that many of our fellow citizens who view themselves as “liberals” begin to see that across the country, there are fewer and fewer dividends in terms of support that are being returned on their political, emotional, and financial investments. As I’ve said, I really hope that socialism is cresting, at least in the United States.
Look at the general course of just the past year-and-a-half. One could certainly argue that after having been ushered into the Presidency on an absurdly high note and on the wave of a “blame-Bush-and-the-Republicans-for-every-scintilla-of-evil-in-the-world sense of hysteria, things certainly began to go south for this administration in a reasonably quick fashion, mostly because once they had started the ignition, they never even gave the new government bulldozer a chance to warm up; they just pushed the pedal straight to the medal, shifted those big gears, and began to terraform. Beginning with an alleged stimulus package that was never intended to stimulate anything other than Democratic-machine votes and to flood the economy with useless dollars, to the attempted spreading-the-wealth coup of Cap & Trade (which, thankfully, seems to have been stopped for the time being), the Obama administration never left any doubt in the minds of the American people who had a political clue that its intention was truly nothing short of a socialist re-constitution of the United States of America. For those Americans who only had a sense that something wasn’t generally right, the hysteria that emerged from this Congress’ successful violation of the American people’s right to freely make their own decisions in life as embodied in the health care debacle finally undressed this administration once and for all.
Since then we’ve witnessed and continue to witness the scandals swirling around the allegedly-attempted bribes of Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff, nearly blatant anti-Semitic signals emerging from this White House, and an oil catastrophe that not only has been extraordinarily ill-addressed but also – strangely enough – one that at least seemed to come hot on the heels of President Obama’s apparent contention that he would once again consider offshore drilling and as the result of the purported negligence of a huge campaign contributor in British Petroleum.
Strange – if BP were, in fact, running such a careless operation (and believe me, I am in no way letting them off the hook here), why would they be such a significant campaign contributor to a candidate who – one would think, anyway – would not hesitate to bring them down if they were negligent in any way, given the politically-tenuous nature of their occupational field?
I guess we might have to ask the folks at Goldman-Sachs the answer to that one. Or, perhaps, the descendants of Saul Alinsky.
Of course, President Obama is in full populist-anger whipping mode against BP and big oil in general, and, naturally, offshore drilling will have to be put on hold. I’m curious, however: is his base really, really mad at the evil antics of BP, or are they grateful to BP for helping him to get elected, in spite of the fact that we just can’t have big business contributing to political campaigns, an issue that the President addressed in his sharp-tongued admonishment of the Supreme Court during what passed for a State-of-the-Union Address?
I was just wondering. I wonder a lot.
Lines have also been drawn in the sand elsewhere with regard to this administration’s policies, as seen in the elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in Arizona’s ‘new’ immigration law, a law that 1) is a whole lot less draconian than the actual federal statute currently on the books and 2) has apparently not even been read by the key people in our federal government. The only thing that I’m left to conclude is that most of the people who position themselves on the far-left of the political slider are simply upset that the governor of Arizona, in addition to 70% of her citizens, wants to enforce the law.
The nerve of them. I mean, really – what are they thinking?
How does a reasonable person continue to support this?
The simple answer is that we’re not dealing with reasonable people. These are people who, in the end, have no use for the rule of law and boundaries in general, either real or abstract. They just keep trying to cross lines, upping their investment, refusing to cut their losses, and all despite the fact that in their heart of hearts, they all probably have a pretty good idea how this story is going to end.
Just like MacBeth.
Unlike our liberals, however, MacBeth knew when the gig was up and what needed to happen in order to set things straight.