On the Augustinian Temperament episode MCLVII: Andy Divine ( @sullydish ) on the ‘loss of legitimacy’ & an almost defense of the teetering Mrs. May . A comment by Old Socialist

The reliably incurious Mr. Divine uses the descriptor ‘cold civil war’ as if it hasn’t been used in ‘quite a while‘ , here is  a link to the Claremont Review of Books from April 25,2017 by Angelo M. Codevilla titled ‘The Cold Civil War’:


Or a link to this portion of an address by Carl Bernstein titled ‘We are in a Cold Civil War’ published on YouTube on October 26, 2017 :

As usual Mr. Divine is intellectually lazy, or just unable to pay due credit, to those political contemporaries, that has provided him with an opening rhetorical frame for his latest polemic.

It’s been quite a while now that the phrase “cold civil war” has been bandied about. And it’s useful, so far as it goes. Polarization has now become tribalism, and tribe is now so powerful a force it is beginning to eclipse national loyalty. The two nations, to borrow Benjamin Disraeli’s description of 19th-century Britain, stand facing each other, without blinking, faces flush, equally matched, on trigger alert for offense or another set battle. What we don’t quite know is if this tenuous, balanced equilibrium is sustainable indefinitely, the system careening from one party’s bitterly contested rule to gridlock and back again, until our tribal tensions are somehow exhausted. Or whether the cold civil war could at some point get a little warmer, or even, shall we say, hot.
What we don’t know, in other words, is when the legitimacy of the entire political system could come into doubt, across the ideological spectrum, in a way that might sanction undemocratic responses. By legitimacy, I don’t mean having deep differences in policy with a president or his party; I don’t mean contempt for, or even mere opposition, to the powers that be; I mean denial of the core validity of the key institutions and players in our system. It’s one thing, after all, to disagree profoundly with an administration’s policies; and another thing entirely to believe an administration, or a congressional majority, or a Supreme Court majority, is fundamentally unjust, and its decisions therefore nonbinding.


Never fear with the bit between his teeth, Mr. Divine is at full gallop, or should I say rather at full hysterical screech.  My patience with Divine’s self-serving political free associations, is, to say the least, minimal. He does not know the meaning,nor the practice of brevity. Its a cast of political characters worthy of  Spelling’s television merde of the Reagan Years. Following in that perennial staple of television melodrama, political doom waits just off camera.

I usually confine myself to the first of his tripartite entries but his comment on the utterly incompetent, not to say the teetering, Mrs. May, demand even jut a sample of what this once Tory Hack can muster:

Who’s Rooting for Theresa May?

Nevertheless, she persisted.

I don’t know how else to describe Theresa May’s grueling slog toward the least worst Brexit possible. It was yet another tenderizing day for her yesterday as the Commons beat her up again and again and again on her proposed deal with the E.U., as yet more ministers resigned (including her second Brexit secretary!) and as a handful of ferocious Europhobes — led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a parody of an upper-class twit — launched a formal bid to oust her from the leadership of the Tory Party. Good times.

The awkward prime minister is still standing upright, though maybe not for much longer. In this respect, I’m surprised more feminists haven’t come to May’s defense. May’s bourgeois Toryism, like Margaret Thatcher’s, doubtless disqualifies her from any respect from the left. But her tenacity in the midst of male obloquy is emblematic of many themes American feminists focus on.

May, after all, is taking responsibility while her male colleagues posture and preen and complain or resign; she gets almost no credit for negotiating one of the more complex international deals in British history for two demoralizing years; she works harder than anyone else in her government; and the deal she has struck is almost certainly the only one the E.U. will ever accept. A woman, in other words, got the toughest job in government in decades, did the best that could be done, has been pilloried for it, but still plowed on, and even now, won’t surrender. Her pragmatism and resilience — along with remarkably good cheer in public — are a wonder to behold. I guess May’s feminism, like Thatcher’s, requires no labeling.

This very notion of Thatcher’s and May’s ‘Feminism’ is on its face laughable! Mr. Divine is still that Thatcherite Hack to his core, in his expression of a duel apologetic for both these frauds!

Old Socialist




About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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