A subtly optimistic fairy tale: George Leaf’s Jennifer’s Awakening.

“Jane realized she had never felt it before. Deep cognitive inconsistency

A moment of crisis strikes the title character in George Leaf’s new novel, Jennifer Van Arsdale’s Awakening (Bombardier Books, 2022). How will Jane handle it? Does he suppress feelings and practice what George Orwell says Think twice: “The power to hold two conflicting beliefs together and to accept both?”

Or does his mind reject conflict and actively seek the truth?

In his story, Leaf offers his subtitle “a political fairy tale for our time”. Jane is a progressive political journalist The Washington PostReal life practitioners are very skilled at creating what is called “narrative”.

It’s a talking point in today’s journalism, “narrative.” That means Story telling, Which is not a recount of information but more than “storytelling” when Southern mothers warn their young children to lie. Not too long ago, I could personally prove, the craft of journalism was still aimed at giving readers Those are the reasons whyAnd How In a fashion that is as fast and compelling as possible, it takes enough time to fully inform the reader’s attention. Now it’s as far from readers as possible Those are the reasons whyAnd How As much as possible, to get a comprehensible “narrative” out, signals that they need to think about something and nothing more. An editorial “news” headline is now usually enough.

The protagonist of Leef, as we have learned, is a news storyteller equally good.

It was this gift that led Jane to receive a lifetime offer. Her idol, Patricia Farnsworth, the country’s first female president, asked her to write an official biography, and she agreed. Farnworth remembers how Jane’s cleverly given fiction helped torpedo her first opponent’s campaign. Jane called it the “October Surprise of My Own” and did so out of an unquestioning commitment to her idea of ​​the greater good. As President, “Pat” has radically restructured America by working outside and around constitutional barriers.

Before he woke up, Jane’s views on the former president were heroic:

Pat Farnworth united the country, virtually eliminating unemployment, ensuring medical care for all, and ending America’s addiction to fossil fuels, among many other great successes. For any president to transform the country so much, the country’s old obsessions with the principles of money and profit and establishment, putting equality, security and social justice first, were astonishing. And it was a Women Those were some of the things it really tasted.

Her interviews with Farnworth take place at Pat’s magnificent California mansion, located in the tragic, crime-prone Scully of Laguna Beach. Jane registers but dismisses the conflict. In that interview, readers highlight how Farnsworth has combined power. This included tearing down a Senate majority, eliminating filibuster, packing up the Supreme Court (“revival”) and then, far from cutting the usual political rewards of such an imbalance of power, he tore it up. His rival court began to issue pre-determined “consultative opinions” on old matters before the court or on worse matters (“Did the old case impede the government’s ability to meet the government’s requirements”? Reform? “). Naturally, speech and gun rights were among the initial casualties, but more importantly, the freedom-minded organizations that typically challenge such liberal occupation have decided not to fight the cause of loss.

After that, he federalized the election and went on to win the second term. To get rid of the “separatists”, he armed federal agencies against them, threatened and encouraged Big Tech to shut them down, and relied on fugitive courts to punish them. His mantra was a cool mantra for dictatorship: “The worst abuse of power is not using it to do good.”

Leaf’s book is fiction, not prophecy, and a reader can be forgiven for failing to remember.

From this point of view, Farnsworth is as oppressive and foolish as any granite-minded communist prime minister. But it wasn’t a perspective that Jane could share. That began to change, however, when he attacked the police-secluded streets of Laguna Beach and was rescued by a man who couldn’t even imagine his preloaded ideology.

The man is a retired electrician, a naval veteran, patrolling the streets with a few like-minded others out of concern for his devastated community. She is black. And he has an illegal gun. For which Jane was Too much Grateful.

Will was there when he needed a hero and Jane wanted to know more about him. And what he learned brought him into a moment of deep cognitive inconsistency. Will laments the destruction of his kingdom by “power-hungry politicians”, including former Governor Farnworth. He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was important for many. Education has not prepared children for life and work. Electricity has become a luxury when it was a thought, and so is water. The abuse of prominent domains has created a tent city for the homeless. Systematic election fraud has ensured that voters are stuck with the leaders responsible for it. Will speaks and while searching for Jane, he finds wonderful answers on many topics, including transportation, gun policy, crime, racial compensation, diversity policy, and what is called the “rhetoric of group equality.”

Will also tells him about the group formed by his late wife, Veronica, “The Free People of Laguna Beach”, who help each other in various services and also give the community a missing feeling that the misrule of the year has taken them away. His wife, we know, died of an unknown brain tumor because COVID-19 restrictions prevented him from treating her headaches. The same heartlessness will not allow his proper funeral.

For Jane’s achievement, she wants to meet free people, and when she does, she realizes that what she’s been told to think inside the beltway isn’t there at all. Now there’s a big problem: Is Jane going to write in her book?

One of the strengths of Leaf’s book is his understanding of what inspires Jane. Like us, he navigates a compelling binary world to see all the political choices in Marvel Comics terms. Every policy question about which people can reasonably differ, involving trade-offs, is seen through an apocalyptic lens instead of good versus evil, and the fate of the whole world depends on this choice. Putting a lot at risk, persuasion is abandoned, and victory becomes “by any means” important.

At the root of this, though, is Jane’s concern Do wellServe better, he sees it as greater. As Leaf explains, “the basis of his political philosophy was the need for government to protect the common man against the greedy pattern of business.” The sincerity of his desire to protect the common man sets him apart from the oppressive Farnworth.

In his pre-awakened ignorance, Jane lacked three important insights: one, the other people, at least equally honestly, wanting to produce greater good for society, could be different from her without bad intentions; Two, their ideas and preferences may be better, so the government can actually serve one by providing them with restraint Worse; And three, greedy, power-hungry politicians like Farnsworth can take advantage of (and even give birth to) this notion of dissent to destroy their political enemies.

Jane’s experiences and discussions with Will and The Free People – which form the heart Jennifer Van Arsdale’s Awakening – Help him get the first two insights. His save with others from Farnworth’s past drive is the third.

Something else helps Jane to walk the path: her love of classical music, a fact of art that transcends the progressive image to sever greatness and thinks it can only be replaced. From the outset, he knows that the “narrative” among his fellow progressives is that classical music is “problematic” because of its “white male dominance,” but he also knows that it is bunk. Yet, when he attends a concert, he takes an unreasonable amount of precautions to avoid being recognized.

Despite her professional commitment to political experience over objective truth, when it comes to music, Jane clearly saw:

Why did they allow their ideology to stand in the way of objectivity and fairness? Yes, the world of classical music was basically white, but what people really cared about was music. If you can play well enough, no one will think about you. You close your eyes and listen. In the case of composers, those who were most popular earned their status because they connected the audience most deeply to the music, not because of their race or sexual identity.

It was possible to imitate many things in America. You can pretend to be an artist by splashing paint on a canvas. You can pretend to be a writer by creating word salad. But to compose great music has to take real talent. No one came enough to put Bach, Beethoven, and Lidt on one side.

If [progressive critics] Finding their way and forcing classical music to be “fair”, music lovers will suffer. And America would not be the slightest bit better, either.

Jane wants to discover a mutual enjoyment of classical music for free with her friends. They have shared this universal language even before they share other common ideas.

With this realization, Leaf’s legend expresses a subtle optimism. The lesson for those of us who are inclined to the notion of objective truth and are distracted by the genes around us is that there are some areas where they reject relativity. These fields will be personalized and studied and will pave the way for individuals to open their eyes to the eternal values ​​of freedom rather than collectivism applied by greedy, selfish politicians (who are not gods or superheroes, but flawed people).

It would be inappropriate for some of us to inspire the youngest of us with highly controversial, very adult subjects instead of teaching phonology and mathematics. For others, it may imply a political stance. For some, art; For some, architecture; And for some, the cuisine. I know a colleague of Shakespeare who is a progressive but who abandoned the long-term financial support of a regional Shakespeare theater when it suddenly announced its alignment with some of the so-called “We See You White American Theater” manifesto.

With Jennifer Van Arsdale’s Awakening, Leaf shows that anyone who really wants the best for their neighbors and fellow citizens cannot ignore the compound conflict of progressivism forever. There are seeds of recognition, and with them, hope for the realization of a flower for truth and individual freedom.

Some may even find this awakening through the legend of Leaf.

John Sanders

John Sanders

John Sanders is an economist and senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation’s Regulatory Studies and Research Editor at Raleigh, North Carolina.

John explores a wide range of areas, including energy and power policy, occupational licensing, red tape and excessive control, alcohol policy, executive order and excessive rich, poverty and opportunity, chronism and other public-choice issues, emerging ideas and economic growth, and more. Problems as they arise.

Receive notifications of new articles from Jon Sanders and AIER.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.