Political Hay

The Day After

D.C. celebrates "the end of an error" and the beginning of a new one.

By 1.21.09

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"This is the network of the 21st century," declared MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "This is the network that has opened its heart to change."

Matthews' declaration of high and redemptive purpose didn't stop him from referring to the departing Bushes as the "Romanoffs," the last members of which were shot and bayoneted by Bolsheviks.

The broadcasting slobber of MSNBC was something to behold. As George Bush Senior hobbled into the inaugural celebration, Matthews shared that it was "the first time I have seen him looking so old." As a grim-faced Rosalynn Carter entered it, Matthews resorted to flat-out heckling: "Come on, Rosalynn, smile."

Meanwhile, Matthews' colleagues, gazing at George Bush Senior, mused over Jeb Bush's future. "It is the family business," Rachel Maddow chipped in. "There is no more Arbusto."

Dick Cheney, reduced to a wheelchair after throwing out his back, was a metaphor for the "lowness" of the Bush presidency, said Matthews. I'm surprised the trio -- Matthews, Maddox, and Keith Olbermann -- didn't refer to the wheelchair-bound Cheney as Mr. Potter.

Not long after this cheap gibbering, a "hey, hey, goodbye" chant could be heard as George Bush Jr. walked onto the inaugural stage. Olbermann and others thought that inappropriate and then fell into a possibly guilty silence.

On Tuesday, D.C. celebrated the "end of an error" and the beginning of a new one. The media strained hard to define the epoch-making significance of it at all. Were Barack Obama a black conservative, it is hard to imagine the same level of enthusiasm, or any at all. Was Clarence Thomas a "step forward for humanity" in their estimation? Had any of the black Republican presidential candidates of the past ever won, they would have been dismayed.

The media purred over Obama's summons to a new "era of responsibility." But responsibility implies an objective truth to which one must respond. Under liberalism, no such truth exists; right and wrong are subjective. Hence no need to be responsible to anything outside of oneself.

This is the era of irresponsibility and it won't be ending anytime soon. The relativism that underpins it has never been more well-fortified. If responding to something "greater than oneself" means anything, it means accepting the Democratic agenda. In the coming days, "sacrifice," as one pundit approvingly put it, will mean accepting reduced Social Security and Medicare benefits. 

Under Obama's liberalism, "progress" is largely defined by irresponsibility: not by a more perfect application of the natural moral law but by a blithe and proud independence from it. Old injustices are replaced by newer and more ambitious ones.

Over the inaugural weekend, Obama spoke more accurately than he realized when he called for a "new" Declaration of Independence. If the old one rested on objective morality, the new one rests on its disappearance. It is that independence which makes abortion and gay marriage liberalism's chief marks of progress.

In his invocation, Rick Warren said that history is God's story. Not anymore. It is man's; he calls the shots. Modern liberalism is an emancipation proclamation from God. After all, man is independent enough from God to kill unborn babies, and with gay marriage modern man happily puts asunder what God has joined together.

Obama made reference to the "blood" shed during previous generations. What about ours? It is bathed in blood. He spoke of hope, but what true hope exists in a nation if a person can't be born into it without an attempt on his life?

The moral philosophy behind his eloquent words render them at best meaningless, at worst menacing: "peace" and "freedom" grow atop graves of the unborn, "rights" devour each other, and "unity" derives from the rejection of one truth.

Even what is good in his election is imperiled by the relativism beneath it. The concept of civil rights is itself a reflection of the natural moral law. But if no such law exists, what is to prevent a return to racial injustice? America doesn't need a "new" Declaration of Independence," but deeper respect for the old one, which in its grounding in God provides the only immutable index of hope.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.