Daily Bread for 7.8.22: Resentment’s a Distinct Local Explanation for Some Residents

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 76. Sunrise is 5:25 AM and sunset 8:34 PM for 15h 09m 39s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 65.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1850, Wisconsin has a would-be king

On this date James Jesse Strang, leader of the estranged Mormon faction, the Strangites, was crowned king; the only man to achieve such a title in America. When founder Joseph Smith was assassinated, Strang forged a letter from Smith dictating he was to be the heir. The Mormon movement split into followers of Strang and followers of Brigham Young.

As he gained more followers (but never nearly as many as Brigham Young), Strang became comparable to a saint, and in 1850 was crowned King James in a ceremony in which he wore a discarded red robe of a Shakespearean actor, and a metal crown studded with a cluster of stars as his followers sang him hosannas.

On the national scene, assigning feelings of resentment to political factions ignores the ideological foundations of their actions. There are ideas underlying political behavior, and calling others merely resentful is a second-order description for a first-order matter. See Resentment’s a Nebulous National Explanation.

First, an introduction. There’s a libertarian expression, that some libertarians are born (into libertarian families) and some are made (through tragedies at the hands of government). I fall, it should be needless to say, in the first category; I have no personal grievances, claim no personal injuries, and have no personal animus. It’s all ideological, down to the marrow, from being born into an OG libertarian family. (That has been, in my view, my good fortune and blessing, but it comes from a happy upbringing, not tragic experience.) 

It’s true, however, that a daily commitment over time works its own will, and one becomes more of what one always was: one becomes more oneself, so to speak. Over years, a firm view becomes adamantine. Someone from Whitewater once criticized me for using that word, as she felt it too showy, too unusual. She was mistaken then and would mistaken now. (As it turns out, she’s no longer a resident, having left this town in need for another place. People should be free to come and go.)

Of Whitewater. And yet, and yet… Whitewater is the place, then and now, a place in need, and worthy of one’s devoted commitment. One would hope that others who see this would, each in his or her own way, stay and fight for the betterment of the community.

In this beautiful city, however, one can say that, for some other residents, resentment is sometimes a distinct local explanation for frustration. When those residents look at city hall, the school district, or the university, they feel exclusion and are resentful over it. (The libertarian talks of town squires and notables with ideological sarcasm and derision; for others, however, a feeling that a few officials fail to communicate or fail to include them leads to feelings of insult.)

For officials in this town: too little communication, toward too few people, often too late, and a selfish desire to separate themselves from the community they claim to serve. They seek to sit at a restaurant’s reserved table, feeling important with their own seating.

For the libertarian: there should be notice of the restaurant’s hours, and ample, open seating for any and all, as a matter of principle worth asserting and defending. 

For many residents: a conviction (often accurate) that they don’t know the restaurant’s hours or menu, and when they arrive they are often consigned to a children’s table near the restrooms. 

When a board in this town blames residents for dividing a supposedly unified community, that board has lost its way. This community has been  divided by socio-economic forces since the Great Recession, and more so since the middle of the last decade. If there have been additional conflicts, the first place an official or professional should look is to himself or herself, not to ordinary residents. That initial introspection is a fundamental requirement of a professional life. The professional looks first to himself or herself, and sees that every day begins anew with that duty of self-reflection. See The Better Approach of the Dark-Horse Underdog.

This duty is immanent within a profession. Always has been, always will be. 

It matters not whether a board of seven or seven hundred insists otherwise. As several or as a horde: still wrong by any number. 

When some residents complain about being pushed aside, they’re not wrong. It has been a problem for in Whitewater for years.

I may not feel resentment in matters as they do, yet as a consequence of moral sentiments I am sympathetic to their feelings.

 Of a New Whitewater. These moral sentiments hold regardless of others’ similar or opposing ideological positions. Whitewater should be — and so must be — a restaurant with open tables, welcoming all, where the greatest duties and obligations rest with officials and professionals to assure government remains limited, responsible, and humble. 

On this point, this libertarian blogger has, one might say, an adamantine conviction.

Watch Austin Butler Cause Hysteria in ‘Elvis’

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