But the call for a World War II–level national deployment in the service of an old, tired, hackneyed, shopworn Democrat-socialist wish-list is not about reversing the trend of climate change (China and India operate independent of American policy) or even about redistributing wealth or aggrandizing the power of petty politicians, as attractive as those things are to the low-minded and meretricious class of people who can hypnotize others — and very often themselves — with shiny objects found in any gutter. Field Marshal Sandy needs a great cause to which to attach herself, lest she return to being only Sandy, obscure and unhappy and of no consequence — or at least no consequence obvious enough for someone with her crippled understanding of what life is for.
In times of war and crisis, or other instances of high drama, life is dominated by public affairs, and it is in public life that one seeks glory and meaning. But ours are not times of that kind, however much we insist on trying to convince ourselves that they are. These are times of relative peace and plenty. In times such as these, the ordinary thing would be for Cincinnatus to return to his plow, and domestic affairs would take their rightful place at the center of life, including at the center of a community life of which politics is only a minor part. But private life has been much diminished by the decline of marriage and family, and by the abandonment of institutions ranging from churches to social clubs. Private life also has been colonized: partly by the social-media culture that treats every afternoon latte or trip to the beach as subject matter for a running documentary of limited interest, and also by an expansive and metastatic form of politics that insists that the personal really is the political, to the extent that there is no sphere of genuinely private life at all: If you happen to be the parent of a kid who was standing near another kid who had an expression on his face that somebody didn’t like, then there very well may be an organized political campaign to ruin you economically, as in the matter of the children from Covington Catholic visiting Washington a few weeks ago. Domestic life is not happy, satisfactory, or even safe.