3. Peter Lawler on me and Charles Murray and other stuff (pdf): “Now, what perplexes Cowen most is that anyone would choose to be brutish rather than be nice.” I still say the modal scenario is that the deplorables end up disengaged. Here is another good passage from Lawler:
The key objection to niceness amounts to the fact that it’s not really a virtue. You can’t rely upon it as the foundation for the duties required of friends, family members, or fellow citizens. A nice person won’t fight for you; a nice person wouldn’t even lie for you, unless there’s something in it for him. A nice person wouldn’t be a Good Samaritan, if it required genuine risk or an undue deployment of time and treasure. A nice person isn’t animated by love or honor or God. Niceness, if you think about it, is the most selfish of virtues, one, as Tocqueville noticed, rooted in a deep indifference to the well-being of others. It’s more selfish than open selfishness, because the latter accords people the respect of letting them know where you stand. I let you do—and even affirm—whatever you do, because I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t bother me. Niceness, as Allan Bloom noticed, is the quality connected with flatness of soul, with being unmoved by the relational imperatives grounded in love and death.
I enjoyed this too:
The point of Clint Eastwood’s instant classic American Sniper is our failure to properly respect our guardians, who put their lives on the line for their own. It’s also about the increasing distance between the relatively honorable, violent, and God-fearing South and the rest of the country.
I praise Lawler’s work on Tocqueville in my The Complacent Class.