My time to offer a substantive post was used up by reading all the excellent threads that have popped up in the recent days.

Thanks to Carl for finding some good stuff in COPPERHEAD. That shows we can be fair and try to be balanced. Because he can’t help but tell the truth that it’s not a masterpiece as a work of art, I’m not driving to Atlanta to see it. Of the four most obvious Civil War groups—pro-war North, anti-war North, pro-war South, and anti-war South—I’m afraid the anti-war North moves me least. Well, the plight of the immigrants who get off the boat and then were dragged to Tennessee does move me some, seeing as so many were Irish. So I identify more with the draft rioters in NYC than the Copperheads.

Thanks to Pete for so modestly making fine contributions to Superman studies (and Ramsey too, for that matter) in the threads. They see more in the movie they liked more than I do. My interest in getting my suspect interpretation based on decaying memories of a film I thought was mostly pretty boring out there has to do with sneaking in my subversive interpretation of the REPUBLIC into an unsuspecting America. It’s already working pretty darn well. It goes without saying that my revised version of all this will sample from Pete and Ramsey and others who want to straighten me out before it’s too late.

There’s also the long and winding commentary on ours as the moment of same-sex marriage in yet another thread.

Finally, for now, it’s great to have Jim Ceaser back with a “connecting-the-dots” post of great importance. My big question has to be with the tenability of calling our enemies Progressives as if all their evildoing has a single ideological cause. If I had a PowerPoint feature here I could get this done even more quickly. I guarantee I will work on this more. But let me say I see in Obamaism three tendencies:

1. CONSERVATISM when it comes to our entitlements. The goal is too keep what we have. Spreading the wealth around and expanding the safety net aren’t really options now. Reasons: success of global capitalism, Lockean individualism, and the birth dearth. (Those three, of course, are interconnected.) The road to serfdom can’t get to serfdom on this front. And so now the Democrats are really reactionaries.

2. THE CRISIS OF GLOBAL WARMING as requiring a mobilization as fundamentally unlimited as was our “TOTAL WAR” (see the FDR 1942 speech mentioned in the thread) against the Nazis and the Japanese. The war on coal will be as ferocious as the war on poverty, but it’s possible that coal will really be defeated, at considerable cost on various fronts to lots of ordinary Americans. The general HEALTH AND SAFETY paranoia here is the road on which BIG GOVERNMENT will continue to bloat these days. Certainly the president is being tyrannical when he says that the time for talk or deliberation is over; transformational action—based on the energetic executive—is what we most urgently need. He’s just echoing what all the “environmental studies” experts are saying, all the Gore-ites. The truth is inconvenient for limited government. The culture war here: Liberals mostly fear climate change, as if we had a natural right to a stable climate. The conservatives fear the birth dearth. Liberal fear the carbon footprint, conservatives fear fewer human footprints.

It’s hard to see the connection between #2 and #1 as some undifferentiated progressivism.

3. THE USE OF THE COURTS, THE BUREAUCRACY, and the MSM MEDIA to deconstruct marriage. Any fool who reads Kennedy’s opinion knows that real fear shouldn’t be the emerging right to POLYGAMY. If all displays of RELATIONAL AUTONOMY are of EQUAL DIGNITY, then the law can’t privileged the married over those choose (for their own mysterious reasons) not to be married. So this sophisticated and libertarian movement isn’t about big government, but a way of keeping the states from even having government when it comes to marriage. It might well true—look at the plight of our single moms now—that deconstructing marriage will create a relational vacuum that has to be filled by government bureaucracy. But the sophisticated folks thinking about the new birth of equality for gays who love each other aren’t thinking that way.

So I’m waiting for the theory of progressivism that really incorporates these forms of change that are hard to believe in.

I guess I can end by talking about the threat Superman will inevitably pose to limited governments in the sequels. Our government has no choice but to trust him, and he’s said he will help only as his own terms. THE FEDERALIST say that because men aren’t angels all power has to be checked and balanced. But Superman is a MAN; he’s no angel. Moral virtue, as THE FEDERALIST says, isn’t a completely reliable check on human passions and interests. So Superman, great guy that he is, is on the road to giving us some super trouble that the Founders couldn’t have anticipated.

Articles by Peter Lawler

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