Conservatives! You can overcome that malaise (guest post by Lulu)

Not a vortex of insanityThe other day, I wrote about the malaise that plagued a group of conservative women with whom I had a meeting (or, as I said, the horror of staring into the vortex of insanity that is today’s political scene). Lulu shared a very helpful, practical response with me.

Getting Over Conservative Malaise
by Lulu

The malaise your Conservatibe women’s group felt is understandable given the daily confrontation with dreadful world news and the worry about how much worse it will get with our dreadful president. We see uninformed sheeple following and not questioning and schools, the universities, and the media are propaganda instruments, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

So what to do? As someone who has helped my child battle an overwhelmingly challenging condition, I have learned that being defeated by what seems overwhelming is disastrous. Have big goals, but they must be started and carried out in thousands of small, steady and strategic steps.

First assess your talent pool. Who is there? Any people with connections? Anyone know anyone who knows anyone who knows the Koch brothers or Adelson or any other wealthy worried conservatives? Anyone have experience at proposal writing or laying out a convincing case in a meeting or lecture? Anyone have connections at a local TV station or a national station? Anyone have connections with black churches, the Spanish speaking community, the Asian American community, or the Jewish community? In that case, plan on how to reach out to these communities in small, strategic steps.

Step 1-

Get the conservative voice out there, but don’t announce it is conservative. Do the entertainment magazines announce that they promote a liberal agenda? No, they don’t. But over a decade ago People magazine began referring to gay partners as husbands and wives, changing perceptions. Women’s magazines have promoted the war on women theme.

Newsweek sold for $1. Why couldn’t a conservative have purchased it?

Why not a conservative “People” with a conservative, but not overtly so, POV. Imagine a magazine that tells the Star Parker story, the son of Hamas story, the Ben Carson story, the story of a southwestern rancher on the border, of Israeli families in the kibbutzim next to Gaza, of Kermit Gosnell, and on and on, all woven subtly in between glossies, fashion spreads, and other fluff. Glenn Reynolds always writes that conservatives need to buy women’s magazines, and in my opinion, that includes gossip magazines. Pitch this to the money men. If you don’t have a connection now, find it. Carly Fiorina might know a few people.

Step 2-

Come up with small plans to fight the school trends. Teachers are mostly liberal, as are their unions, so recommending books and volunteering speakers who subtly promote conservative ideas is again a start. Speaking to an administrator as one parent is tough but going in a group is powerful — but be sure to sneak it in, as they do, without the word “conservative.”

Gather a large committee of immigrant conservatives, especially those from totalitarian countries, including gays and ethnic minorities, who can be trained to do outreach in their own communities. There are existing groups like these. Affiliate and brainstorm with them.

I believe the rot is very deep in college, but that is because it has become a totalitarian state. I think, based on my experience with my interns last year, that at least some students, including ethnic students, are fed up with their “education” and the indoctrinating. Alternative voices in conventional media, if they don’t blast the word conservative, give them a safe place to start learning new ideas that it is clear to me they find attractive.

Step 3-

I mentioned in the past that TV needs to be infiltrated. Show TV that there is a money demand for a daytime show with Star Parker, etc., a comedy show with Andrew Klavan and Stephen Crowder, etc. Campaign to get these guys a gig on Fox or a “debate” on Colbert. Most voters are unformed, so we need to reach out to them on the entertainment level. Once they start hearing competing ideas, seeds get planted, they showed grow into a healthy conservative movement.

The world is going to get a lot worse over the next two years with a lot of unforeseen consequences. Let’s get busy promoting our message of traditional American beliefs. Our ideas are better. Let me know and I will help.

Staring into the vortex of insanity (and Open Thread)

Crazy person in vortexPardon the delay in posting today, but I spent a significant portion of the day meeting with a committee of Republican women. To a woman, they were wonderful: intelligent, mentally well-organized, reliable, committed to Israel, and committed to the intelligent advancement of the conservative cause in America. And to a woman, they were disheartened.

What had them so disheartened wasn’t the state of the nation (although they weren’t thrilled about that either). No, what really made them sad was the state of Republicans. They noted that Republicans like to get together in kaffeeklatches.  Once gathered, they’re always happy complain about the status quo, but they won’t do anything. They pay lip service to conservative causes and candidates, but will not donate money, give of their time, proselytize to others, or even bother to vote. The adjectives about Republicans flew: sluggish, lethargic, disheartened and, the best I thought, shell-shocked.

My contribution was that it’s no surprise. What we see is a nation going to hell in a hand basket, but one in which partisan politics are so insane that the road America travels doesn’t seem to matter anymore. John Hinderaker, I think, is on to something with a post he calls “Barack Obama, The Teflon President.” The original “Teflon President,” of course, was Ronald Reagan. The Left liked to say that he was Teflon because nothing stuck, ignoring the fact that nothing stuck because they were slinging charges as weightless and ephemeral as soap bubbles at a president who presided over a thriving economy, raised America’s status around the world, and restored American pride at home.

Barack Obama, however, is a different matter. He too is a Teflon President, since he routinely garners a 40%-45% approval rating, despite presiding (1) over the longest recession since the Great Depression (barring those rich folks getting richer, thanks to quantitative easy and crony capitalism, especially “green” crony capitalism); (2) a perpetually demoralized labor market; (3) the breakdown of America’s southern border; (4) the loss of all of America’s gains in the Middle East; (5) the rise of ISIS; (6) the abandon of America’s allies (from Poland to Israel); (7) the regression of race relations in America; (8) America’s retreat from the world stage; and (9) a general, demoralizing malaise, greater even than Jimmy Carter envisioned.

Given all the awfulness that is the Obama presidency, how did he get reelected (discounting fraud for the moment) and why is he still able to keep his approval rating above 40%? Well, that’s were Hinderaker’s Teflon theory comes in:

I think what is happening is that America’s politics have become so tribal that large numbers of people lie to pollsters. We have seen this throughout the Obama administration, when African-Americans have told pollsters the economy is doing well, more than any other demographic group, even as they have been hammered disproportionately by unemployment and wage cuts. American politics have become so polarized, and the Democratic Party has whipped its followers into such a frenzy, that 40% of us would purport to approve of a Democratic president if he burned down the White House, disbanded the Navy, and spent his evenings howling at the moon.

Barack Obama really is a Teflon president: for close to half of Americans, the facts bounce off him. Because they really don’t care about the facts; either that or they are cashing government checks and are indifferent to anything else. This does not bode well for our democracy.

There’s another possible theory, of course, one that occurred in England back in 1990s: “The Shy Tory Factor“:

Shy Tory Factor is a name given by British opinion polling companies to a phenomenon observed by psephologists in the 1990s, where the share of the vote won by the Conservative Party (known as the ‘Tories’) in elections was substantially higher than the proportion of people in opinion polls who said they would vote for the party.

In the 1992 general election, the final opinion polls gave the Conservatives between 38% and 39% of the vote, about 1% behind the Labour Party - suggesting that the election would produce a hung parliament or a narrow Labour majority and end 13 years of Tory rule. In the final results, the Conservatives had a lead of 7.6% over Labour and won their fourth successive general election, though they now had a 21-seat majority compared to the 102-seat majority they had gained in the election five years previously. As a result of this failure to ‘predict’ the result, the Market Research Society held an inquiry into the reasons why the polls had been so much at variance with actual public opinion. The report found that 2% of the 8.5% error could be explained by Conservative supporters refusing to disclose their voting intentions; it cited as evidence the fact that exit polls on election day also underestimated the Conservative lead.

In other words, Americans could be lying to pollsters.  After six years of hearing the word “racist” in response to every criticism of the Obama presidency, people may have been conditioned to keep their opinions to themselves.  When a pollster calls, they’re not going to tell even that bored, anonymous voice (or robo-pollster) that they disapprove of America’s first black president.

Frankly, though, I don’t think we’re dealing with a “Shy Conservative Factor” here.  If this was the case, we would already have seen it play out in 2012, and Romney would have been president.  Instead, we really are looking at a president who could get half the country’s votes even if he stood in the White House rose garden foaming at the mouth and barking like a dog.

While Hinderake’s Teflon theory explains the president’s continued — and, to conservatives, bizarre — popularity, it still doesn’t touch upon the malaise that’s characterizing conservative voters.  Isn’t this the time when we should be revisiting the Tea Party fervor we showed in 2010?

This is where my “staring into the vortex of insanity” theory kicks in.  My contribution to the discussion is that conservatives look around them and see insanity.  Insane politics are different from politics with which we disagree.  We may disagree with socializing industry, but that’s because we fundamentally disagree with the political theory behind that move.  Likewise, we may disagree with a city’s decision to make its main street a pedestrian mall because we value the ease of vehicles over the charm of walking past shops.

What I’m talking about is what really seems to be insanity.  Take my home state of California, for example.  California is broke, but we’re still paying for a high speed rail that links two towns in the middle of nowhere, and that has already far exceeded the price promised to voters.

That’s insane.  But how about this one:  Remember all those illegal aliens we were worried about just a few weeks ago?  The tens of thousand of them, a mix of unattended children, adults, gangbangers, people with debilitating and contagious diseases last seen in America decades ago, and possible terrorists and pedophiles?  And remember how Obama, rather than sending these tens of thousands of people back to their home countries opened our borders to them, and promised to grant them amnesty, along with another five or six million illegals?  If you remember all that, you can certainly argue that doing this is crazy, but it’s equally possible to argue that it’s a calculated move to shift the United States to a permanent Democrat majority.

If you want real crazy, though, look at California.  Remember how I said California is broke.  Despite that reality, Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown has smilingly announced that illegal aliens are welcome here.  That’s pretty crazy.  But not crazy enough.  To get the real feel for a country that’s run off the rails, check out what’s also going on in Sacramento regarding those recently arrived illegals:

Young immigrants poised to flood California’s courts could get extra legal help under a bill offering $3 million to bolster legal services.

[snip]

The newly announced bill would set aside $3 million that would be distributed to nonprofit organizations that offer legal services. Many of the immigrants pressing their cases could be seeking refugee status.

[snip]

“Helping these young people navigate our legal system is the decent thing to do and it’s consistent with the progressive spirit of California,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.

As an urgency measure included in a budget cleanup bill, the legislation would take effect immediately and could make money available within a few weeks, according to Atkins’ office.

It would not require Republican votes to pass.

Meanwhile, also in Sacramento, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto arrived to a loving greeting from Jerry Brown and fellow California Democrats. One of the things that Nieto couldn’t praise highly enough is the way in which California treats the citizens who find life in Mexico so awful all that they can do is run away:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto lauded California on Tuesday for its relatively favorable treatment of undocumented immigrants, telling a joint session of the Legislature that the state has taken the “ethically correct” position in a national debate over immigration.

Meanwhile, neither Jerry Brown nor Barack Obama can bestir himself to plead the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been languishing in a Mexican jail for months after he got lost, ended up on a no-exit, one-way road to the Mexican border, and told the Mexican border guards that (a) he was not trying to enter the country and (b) he had legal American weapons in his car.

The above narrative is insanity writ large. My motto in life has always been “never argue with the crazy person.” It’s a good life motto when some crazed mother erupts at a PTA meeting or when someone with a screw loose challenges you over a parking place or something equally negligible. Crazy people do crazy things. You think you’re talking about bake sales, and they think you’re trying to kill them, so they’ll beat you to a pulp first. There’s no mileage to be had in arguing with a crazy person.

But what do you do if your country has gone crazy? What if it’s abandoned self-interest, embraced self-loathing, thrown itself into the arms of the world’s dictators, turned its back on its own citizens, and is throwing money out the window as it drives a fast car to local and national bankruptcy? How do you argue then? With whom do you argue? And moreover, what do you do if you know that almost half of your fellow citizens couldn’t care less about the craziness, even when they’re its victims. What do you do if they’d rather stand alongside the drooling, screaming, ill-kempt crazy man beating the living daylights out of you, then step forward and help you put a stop to insanity run amok?

There’s your despair, malaise, shell-shock, and torpor. It’s not just that things are bad. It’s that we look at our fellow citizens and realize that they too have gone around the bend.

Caution: Exposing children to the conservative world view can be dangerous

They're so happy.  They must be conservative.

They’re so happy. They must be conservative.

My daughter let loose this morning with a rant about the way in which political correctness stifles humor and free speech. She’s right, of course.  No wonder Progressives want to silence conservatives.  If conservatives are allowed talk, people — especially young people — will discover that they’re much more fun.  Young people like fun, which is why Leftists keep telling them “sex, sex, sex.”  Dig just a little past all that sex talk, though, and you realize that conservatives are actually having fun, while Progressives offer nothing more than a grim, puritanical slog through a Hobbesian life:

Progressives perpetually police their own and everyone else’s speech.  Conservatives, outside of the boundaries of ordinary decency and manners, do not.

Progressive humor is predicated on demeaning and deceiving people (I’m talking to you Jon Stewart).  Conservatives can laugh about most things.

Progressives live in perpetual fear that their world is in imminent danger of bursting into flames.  Conservatives do not view the earth in darkly apocalyptic terms.

Progressives worry that every interaction with nature is an evil act destroying Gaia; Conservatives respect nature, but allow themselves both to enjoy it and benefit from it.

Progressives fear guns.  Conservatives get to go out shooting for fun (although they do it safely).

Progressives hate the military.  Conservatives get to enjoy all sorts of cool military stuff even if they’re not actually in the military (e.g., Fleet Week and Navy League events).

Progressives think pregnancy is a “punishment” and babies are Gaia-destroyers.  Conservatives see babies as the promise of the future. And while we’re on the subject of babies, Leftists, with their abortion and euthanasia obsessions (not to mention medical “death panels,” are a death cult.  Conservatives, by contrast, celebrate new life.

Progressives often don’t believe in either a God or an afterlife. Life on earth has no purpose (except to suck Gaia dry) and death means a rotting corpse (that pollutes Gaia). Conservatives often believe in both God and an afterlife, giving every day meaning and purpose.

Progressives, despite their endless obsession with sex, kill the pleasure. Girls who have sex too young (as Leftists encourage them to do), tend to have unhappy sex lives. Girls who hook up have unhappy sex lives. Boys who hook up aren’t that thrilled with meaningless sex either.  People who dive into meaningless sex with strangers are more likely to have STDs.  And once you get to university, oy! The boys are all rapists and the girls are all victims, and everyone is dead drunk because it’s the only way they can get past the fear and revulsion in order to reach out to each other. Conservatives, on the other hand, have respect, romance, love and commitment.

I can see the ad campaign now: Enjoy Life: Become a Conservative!

Any computer game designers out there? We’ve got some core values to sell

do-smartphones-smart-kidsI had the pleasure today of having lunch with Dennis Koller and his quite lovely wife. (And since she’s not a published author, I’ll keep her name out of here to preserve her privacy.) You may recognize Dennis’s name, since he wrote The Oath, a book I enjoyed a great deal and reviewed here. It didn’t come as any surprise to me that I liked Dennis. He was as I expected him to be: the best kind of native San Francisco Catholic. What that means is that he is extremely well-educated (parochial schools all the way, when that still meant something), has classical liberal values (raised in a family that fought for real civil rights, when that still meant something), and is a delightful conversationalist (I think it’s the nun thing again).

One of the things we spent a lot of time talking about was messaging. How, we asked each other, can conservatives sell themselves in the next 2.5 years? We concluded that today’s generation lacks intellectual curiosity and any analytic skills. For the past 40 years, they’ve been taught to think by using their navel as a guide. Small wonder, then, that the avatar of their generation announces that his definition of sin is “Being out of alignment with my values.” Despite knowing this, we conservatives keep thinking that we can convince people through evidence — including the evidence of their own eyes — and analysis that conservativism works in the real world.

Looking at the teenagers in my world, they get most of the data that they value through their smart phones. Unlike adults who use Facebook to share ideas (shallow, but still ideas), the kids use Facebook for gossip about each other. They also like to visit sites such as Buzzfeed and Gizmodo. But most of all, they like to play what I call “thumb games,” in which they zip objects around in a frantic effort to best other players out in cyberspace.

If I had any imagination at all, and even the slightest inkling about how to design a game app, I would design games that look like ordinary games, but that sell ideas such as free market competition. Here’s what I mean:  Years ago, I was able to turn my daughter against Obamacare when I asked her to imagine a world with only one clothing store. What would happen, I asked her, if it didn’t have her size or her style or if it had really horrible sales staff? She shuddered in revulsion. Remember, I said, it’s the only store there is. What’s your recourse? When she realized she was trapped in a fashion shopping nightmare, it clicked. She recognized then and, seemingly, forever, the value of a free marketplace.

Wouldn’t it be great to create a game app that starts with the player (presumably a girl) in a place with there’s only one lousy store selling gross clothes, and then makes them figure out ways to increase their shopping options? It wouldn’t be a game called “Socialism versus Capitalism,” or “Communist Fashion Nightmare,” or anything else so obvious. Instead, it would be an innocuous-sounding game (“Fashion Race” or something like that) and it would be presented entirely as a fun competitive game. However, while the girl is thinking she’s competing against other girls in cyberspace, what she’s really doing is learning about the value of real competition.  One could do exactly the same for boys, with the open market competition element in the game having to do with cool weapons or sports activities or anything else where the point of the game is for the kid to engage in market-based competition — offering more of a better product — in order to win the game.

Games such as that are going to resonate with kids a lot more than some documentary about what shopping used to be like in the Soviet Union.  Kids simply aren’t interested in some abstruse discussion about the sort of free medical insurance market we once had (ignoring all the government interference that already existed) versus the whacked out world of Obamacare, which is being sold as something good, but actually functions badly.

If conservatives really want to know what we should do, we should all go re-read Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV. There, Shapiro relays in their own words the techniques used by Hollywood’s movers and shakers in the 1960s through 1980s to turn our popular culture sharply left. It’s like a primer for taking over the unthinking mind.

Also — and this is totally unrelated to the above post — did you take a minute to read and listen to Canardvark’s Reagan 180 : Peace Through Strength? Not only is it really good, but I’m just thrilled that my site now offers original multimedia content. And Reagan’s words truly are as appropriate now as they were then. Facts may change, but values remain the same.

And thinking about those last words, I realize that the Canardvark’s post is in fact entirely related to what I’ve written here: It’s not the facts that matter; it’s our ability to sell the up and coming generation on core values and eternal truths. We need to use facts that resonate with them to make this sale, and we need sell these facts through their favorite media.

My own personal Cloward-Piven breakdown — and request for your ideas about uniting the base

System overloadI haven’t written much in the last two days.  It’s certainly not because there’s been an absence of material, both serious (just about everything) and ridiculous (“Oh, my gawd!  Hillary’s going to be a grandmother!”).  Instead, my problem is that there’s too much to write about.  I’m overwhelmed, and all I can think of is the Cloward-Piven strategy.

I know that you all know what I’m talking about but, to keep the record clean, here’s the Wikipedia summary:

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.

While those delightful Leftists were focused solely on destroying the American economy, I’ve always seen the strategy as one that has much larger implications:  if you overload the circuits of anything, the system will blow.

Five years into the Obama administration, the headlines indicate that all the chickens are suddenly coming home to roost.  America and the world are balancing on the knife’s edge.  The checks and balances have broken, the very same checks and balances that kept stability both at home and abroad.

We’re looking into the abyss and I have no idea what to say.

More than that, when I look at what conservatives have to offer, I’m not sanguine about our ability to walk America delicately back from the edge on which it’s poised and bring it to firm ground.  For decades, conservatives have been keeping their heads down and doing the economic work that’s been channeled into filling Leftist coffers and funding Leftist policies.  Now that we’re finally raising our heads from our desks, we’re shattered by the damage strewn about, but don’t have the faintest idea how to regroup . . . no, not regroup, but group in the first place.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Trevor Loudon’s proposal to have conservatives come together immediately to present a united front to appeal to all conservative bases.  As you know, it appealed to me strongly.  But a lot of people whom I respect (yourselves included), immediately pointed out profound flaws with the idea.  Right off the bat, there were profound flaws with each of the people named (Ted Cruz’s Canadian birthplace; Rand Paul’s peculiar ideas about money and Iran, not to mention his father’s icky affiliations; Allen West’s problems while in the military, and so on).  People also disliked the un-democratic smell behind preparing an entire slate without the necessity of primaries, although primaries in California and in other “open primary” blue states are officially a joke.  Some people were worried that naming a full slate early would give the MSM a head-start on digging up dirt, destroying lives, and preparing campaigns.  And those are just some of the problems people had with Trevor’s out-of-the-box idea for getting the base excited before the GOP vacuums up the big money to promote another almost-certain-to-lose RINO.

The one thing that everyone agreed on, though, was that there needs to be some grand strategy to unite the conservative base in 2016, or else we may as well go home now, stock up on our survivalist supplies, and wait for Armageddon.

So here’s a challenge for you, given that my circuits are fried:  What grand strategy will unite the base?

Andrew Breitbart, Theodor Herzl, and the dream that will not die

(Originally published on March 1, 2012. Today is the second anniversary of Andrew’s death. I still haven’t made myself delete his cell number from iPhone.)

I’d like to tell you the story of a great man.  In his youth, he was something of a dilettante.  He attended the right schools, enjoyed life, and didn’t think much beyond the pleasures it could offer him.  And then he found a cause.  A glorious and important cause that would deliver people from being enslaved to hostile societies and big governments.  Once he found his calling, he pursued it with passion.  He wrote prolifically, traveled widely and, most importantly, he thought outside of the box.  He took the vague, inchoate dreams that other men had and, because of his drive and vision, made those dreams a reality.

Living life so hard and fast took its toll, though.  If, as the Bible says, God allots a specific span of years to a man, it’s entirely possible that a unique man can compress those years into a much shorter period of time, in order that he can do what he needs to do, when he needs to do it.  And then this man, having opened wide the door for others dies, at 44 or maybe at 43.

I am, of course, talking about two men, one of whom died in 1904, two months after having turned 44, and one of whom died a little after midnight today, having just turned 43 just a month ago.  The arc of their life stories, however, has a remarkable similarity, and we would do well to heed and honor that similarity.

The man who died on July 3, 1904, was Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism and, therefore, the rightful father of the State of Israel.  Herzl was born in 1860 into a wealthy, assimilated Jewish family living in Hungary.  He was fairly uninterested in his Jewish heritage.  He didn’t disavow it; he just didn’t care.  He was a man of letters, earning a law degree, but working as a journalist.  Life was good, and really that was all.

And then the Dreyfus Affair exploded in France in the early 1890s.  Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an innocuous member of the French military who was framed for treason.  Most everyone knew that he was not the culprit but that, instead, the real malfeasor was another officer.  Following an orgy of antisemitic invective, Dreyfus was convicted on no evidence whatsoever, and send to Devil’s Island where he suffered five years of inhumane conditions.  Moral people in France were outraged at this travesty, and Emile Zola shook the world with his famous “J’accuse” letter published in a Parisian paper.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was an epiphany.  Antisemitism, he realized, was not a fossilized relic of the Middle Ages.  It was an infection festering under modern civilization, and could break out at any time.  Jews would never be safe in Europe.  They needed a place to call their own.  Herzl’s genius was that he took the European Jews’ abstract longing for a “next year in Jerusalem,” and turned it into a concrete, do-able idea.  Everyone knew that the Biblical Jewish nation had spanned hundreds of years in the Holy Land, and that Jews also had an unbreakable living presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years, from Biblical times to Herzl’s own times.  Herzl took this to the next level:  Why shouldn’t present-day Jews have their own land, a place where they were free from control and harassment at the hands of powerful, antisemitic governments?

Herzl was transformed.  His life had meaning and purpose and he lived every remaining moment with passion and energy.  He wrote, he traveled, he lectured.  He was a happy warrior.  He’d broken free of the thousand-year paradigm that had trapped Jews in Europe, and created a new paradigm, one that saw the Jews as a free people in their own land.  But that kind of passion and fury takes its toll.  Herzl was a blazing comet, but comets, for all that they burn brightly, vanish too quickly.  In 1904, Herzl’s great heart gave out.  He died 44 years before his dream was realized.  But here’s the important thing:  His dream was realized.  Herzl’s life mattered.  His vision burned itself into the hearts of millions of others and resulted in the creation of one of the most dynamic — and free — states in the world.

One doesn’t have to work very hard to see the parallels between Herzl’s life and Andrew Breitbart’s.  As Breitbart freely admits in his delightful Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, his early life was completely ordinary.  He was a knee-jerk Jewish liberal who grew up in Los Angeles without thinking much about politics beyond parroting the views that surrounded him in his liberal social and educational enclaves.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was the epiphany that exploded his world assumptions and forced him to look a grave problem in the world and device a solution.  For Andrew Breitbart, his Rubicon was the Clarence Thomas hearings.  As did Herzl, he realized that his society had a big problem — this time with the core problem being the Democrat party that had long been his ideological home — and he started thinking about solutions to this problem.

In the last few years, Andrew’s years of cogitation, combined with his happy warrior personality, resulted in a completely new paradigm.  Rather than adopting the defensive stance that is the norm for the Republican party when dealing with attacks from the Left, Andrew took the war onto the Left’s own soil.

Working with the equally innovative James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, Breitbart pretty much destroyed ACORN, a hard-Left, well-funded group that masqueraded as a meek and mild social welfare concern.  He took the war to the Left’s own turf when Leftists contended that protesters at a Tea Party hurled racist epithets at Black politicians and activists.  Andrew offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide proof that such conduct took place.  Despite the plethora of recording devices at the scene, no Leftist ever stepped forward to claim the money.  And of course, Breitbart brought down Anthony Weiner, giving notice to Democrats everywhere that the “gentleman’s agreement” that the media had with Democrats, an agreement that had successfully protected Kennedy and that tried so hard to protect Bill Clinton, no longer existed.

Andrew changed the paradigm.  He showed that, for conservatives, the fight doesn’t begin and end with stating ideas and hoping that the public figures out that conservative ideas are better.  That might have worked in a pre-MTV world, but in a world with a short attention span, and a Leftist lock on media and education, it’s just not enough to say that one has a better idea.  To give ideas traction today, we need to work actively to show that the opposing party has a much worse idea — and that it’s worse, not only at a purely ideological level, but at a functional level.  On the ground, Leftist ideas are a breeding ground for poverty, racism, corruption, and immorality.  It’s out there. Andrew knew it, and Andrew showed it.

Andrew also believed in redemption.  After all, like so many of us on the Right, Andrew started out as a liberal.  He loved fighting the hard-core Leftists, but he firmly believed that, by fighting them, he could bring them into the light.  And more than that, he believed that he could rouse the sheeples out there, the ones who are as we once were — Leftists by default rather than by conviction — and turn them into true Patriots who love and support the American dream, beginning with the Constitution.

RIP, Andrew Breitbart.  Your short time here was not wasted.  Just as with Theodor Herzl, your dream, your vision, and your drive will live on.

Conservatives should take a page out of the Islamists’ book and disavow bad actors marching under their banner

Mia TalericoA friend tipped me off to the fact that a few deranged individuals have been sending hate mail and threats to an absolutely adorable five-year-old girl who stars on the Disney Channel’s show Good Luck Charlie.  The trigger for this behavior was an episode in the show that saw Disney decide to peddle same-sex marriage to the kindergarten crowd:

On January 26, the Disney Channel made a gentle stride into a more progressive era by featuring its first-ever same-sex couple on an episode of Good Luck Charlie, introducing two lesbian moms who bring their child over for a playdate, then show everyone they’re just like normal parents by not scissoring or establishing a golf pro shop in front of the kids.

Unsurprisingly, conservative groups objected to Disney’s tactic, proving that they’re a bit slow on the uptake here.  As the friend who notified me about the kerfuffle pointed out, Disney long-ago stopped being family friendly, meaning that it no longer stands for the family values in which Walt Disney believed and that were once normative in America.

In the last couple of decades, Disney has been responsible for an incredible amount of brightly colored, highly polished, cheerily-presented trash being streamed into America’s homes.  Small wonder that so many former Disney stars have embraced drink, drugs, and very public sexual misbehavior.  (Hey, Miley!  Is that you?)  Indeed, to discredit once and for all any hint of Walt Disney’s old-fashioned values, big name stars such as the ubiquitous (and, to me, increasingly dull) Meryl Streep have resurrected the old Leftist canard — unsupported by any evidence — that Walt was a rabid anti-Semite and someone so sexist that, even by the standards of the day, he stood out.  All of which is to say that nowadays Disney is just another corporate Hollywood institution staffed primarily by the entertainment world’s Democrat Party fanatics.

But getting back to the hate mail the show engendered.  To the extent people felt the need to protest Disney’s right to preach gay marriage to the toddler set (something protected by freedom of speech, but perhaps not wise as commercial speech), they should have done so by writing to Disney’s corporate office and (a) politely explaining their objections and (b) equally politely say that, because of those objections, they would henceforth delete Disney from their child’s playlist.  Most, I’m sure, did.  At least one person, however, followed the path of derangement:

Now police are investigating some voices who have been making death threats aimed at the show’s star, Mia Talerico. By the way, Mia Talerico is 5 years old.

TMZ first noted that Talerico began receiving death threats on her Instagram feed last month, right around the time the “controversy” broke. According to police reports, these included messages such as “Die Mia, Fucking die in hell! Kill yourself, you deserve to die.” That same suspect also reportedly sent a photo of Talerico’s head covered by a bloody fist and the message, “Yes, kill you stupid bitch.” Again, Talerico is 5 years old, and the star of a Disney show about an adorable little girl that had lesbians on it one time.

My friend commented that there are few things worse than stupid conservatives.  I agree, although I think there are two other possibilities here:  (1) the person who sent those vile threats isn’t politically motivated but is, instead, solidly insane and dangerous; and (2) it’s a false flag operation, run by a Leftist seeking to discredit conservatives.  This is not as wacky as it sounds.  In the past year, I’ve been aware of two instances in which Leftists sent hate-filled material to themselves, once at Oberlin and the other at the University of Wyoming, in order to discredit conservatives and to satisfy their histrionic personality disorders.  (Here’s a list of other anti-conservative hate-crime hoaxes.)

On the off-chance, though, that this really was someone spewing insults and threats against a five-year-old in the name of conservativism, I have the perfect response. Conservatives need to use the Islamo-defense mode. You know how it goes: Some guy hollering “Allahu akbar” blows himself up in a crowd. Lots of people begin to say, “Gee, these Muslims sure are violent.” At which point the apologists in the Muslim community say, “If they’re violent, then they’re not real Muslims.” By saying that, the Muslim community disavows responsibility for the act and, by extension, disclaims any obligation to look at its teachings to see if they could be modified so as not to be an inspiration to perpetual and murderous outrage.

If conservatives were as media savvy as their ideology is realistic and intelligent, their defense here would be, “Anyone this stupid, vicious, twisted, violent, and generally hate-filled, is not a real conservative.”  Right now, we have a habit of demanding that bad actors who label themselves as conservatives should be punished for their bad acts, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone in the conservative front lines to say “That person is not a conservative.”

Doing things the Islamo-defense way means that one never has to look at the ideologies underlying the bad behavior to determine whether the actor is in harmony with the ideology (“Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another”) or acting in opposition to it (“hate the sin, love the sinner”). Indeed, it’s this type of blessed ignorance that allows people to declare that the 9/11 terrorists who killed 2,996 civilians on a sunny morning were Freedom Fighters indistinguishable from the American Revolutionaries who battled the British King’s troops.

Leftists and conservatives view people differently; or, who’s the racist (or sexist or homophobe)?

White

LEFTIST VIEW: Marauder, pillager, imperialist, racist, homophobic brute
CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being

Black

LEFTIST VIEW: Victim, dependent on beneficent white liberals for help
CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being

white female

LEFTIST VIEW: Victim, dependent on beneficent white liberals for help
CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being

black female

LEFTIST VIEW: Victim, dependent on beneficent white liberals for help
CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being

Gay white

LEFTIST VIEW: Victim, dependent on beneficent white liberals for help
CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being

Black gay

LEFTIST VIEW: Victim, dependent on beneficent white liberals for help
CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being

Obama halo

LEFTIST VIEW: Victim, dependent on beneficent white liberals for help

Obama looking stupid

CONSERVATIVE VIEW: Human being (and not a very nice one at that)

My point:  I view my fellow human beings as . . . well . . . how best to put this?  I view them as fellow human beings, capable of all things base and sublime. Once people attain maturity, I believe that all of them are capable of making decisions about how they wish to live their lives.  True, not all of them start off with the same advantages, whether those are physical skills, mental abilities, or economically solid upbringing.  All, however, can decide to follow the paths of virtue or of vice.  Unlike dogs or cows or lizards, they are not bound by blind instinct.  Subject to limitations on either side of the bell curve, the vast majority of human beings, of all races, colors, sexes, creeds, and sexual orientations, are rational, conscious beings blessed with will power and the ability to engage in moral analysis.

Leftists, however, invariably view all people but for straight white man as objects of pity.  This is true no matter how often they apply adjectives such as “empowerment” or “pride” to these non-white male groups.  Without exception, Leftists make it very clear that their preferred victim classes are incapable of standing on their own two feet.  That are not fully fledged human beings who are masters of their fate or captains of their souls but, are instead pathetically needy, helpless beings.

Reverend Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

And my favorite poem, of course:

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

(Leftist addendum: Unless I’m a victim.)

Upworthy and Good Men Project: Progressive sites for people seeking to save their souls through politics

AXRJP4I’ve noticed a trend on my “real me” Facebook page.  More and more of my liberal friends (and that means almost all of my real world, as opposed to cyber world, friends) are regularly linking to Upworthy and the Good Men Project.  Conservatives should heed the rise of these two sites they market themselves to knee-jerk liberals who cast votes as a way of saving their (non-religious) souls.

Upworthy is a site that posts made-for-Facebook (i.e., made-for-easy-distribution) videos showing people striking blows against racism, sexism (i.e., male chauvinism), hetereronomativism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. Here’s just a sampling of the videos of the moment (sans hyperlinks):

  • “Her Husband’s Abuse Once Kept Her Behind Closed Doors. Now She’s Speaking Out, Loud And Clear.”  (Evil male hegemony)
  • “They’re Harassed And Criminalized. But Could They Be The Solution To A Big Sex Industry Problem?”(Fighting prostitutophobia)
  • “Bully Calls News Anchor Fat, News Anchor Destroys Him On Live TV” (Beating back weight-ism)
  • “Meet The 17-Year-Old Who Blew The Lid Off Racial Profiling With His iPod” (The war on racism)
  • “You Might See Tattoos In A New Light After You See Them On This Woman” (Don’t judge a woman by her tramp-stamp)
  • “Good military men who support gay marriage” (Even baby killers can be good if they like gays)
  • “Nearly 1/3 Of All Campaign Dollars in 2013 Came From A Tiny Group Of People. Care To Guess Who?” (Rich people are evil, a video made by the AFL-CIO. Interestingly, the AFL-CIO forget to say that unions are the nation’s top political donors, and that these donations only go Democrat.)
  • “9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact” (Income inequality, brought to you by the corporate branch of the Occupy movement)
  • “A Boy Makes Anti-Muslim Comments In Front Of An American Soldier. The Soldier’s Reply: Priceless.” (Islamophobia is irrational)

For a website devoted to victim-hood, I find it interesting that I can’t find any videos at Upworthy in which people strike self-righteous blows against antisemitism, which is rearing its hydra-head in virulent form around the world.  A quick search reveals that neither the word “antisemitism” nor the word “anti-semitism” has ever appeared at Upworthy.  There also don’t seem to be any videos exposing the deadly anti-Christian ideology that’s rapidly stripping the Middle East and parts of Africa of their Christian citizens.  Instead, I found only videos attacking Christians for being homophobic (such as this one).  Also lacking are videos striking self-righteous blows against the misogyny and homophobia in the Middle East and Africa, that deprives women and gays of any rights whatsoever, and that routinely sees them hanged or stoned for imaginary crimes of adultery or for real or imagined acts of sodomy.

It’s entirely possible that Upworthy’s contributors support Jews, Christians, women, and gays at the mercy of Islamists, and are simply too scared to say anything, just as the Monty Python guys are now too scared to touch Islam.  Or it could be — which I think is the truth — that they don’t give a flying whatsit for these truly persecuted (i.e., real victim) groups.

It’s telling that, if you search “Islam” at Upworthy, you only get dozens of variations on “Islam is a religion of peace — honest.”  The Upworthy people apparently weren’t paying attention to 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, the Madrid train bombing, the London subway and bus bombings, the Mumbai massacre, the Bali disco bombing, the London soldier beheading, the attempted Times Square Bombing, the Boston Marathon massacre, the Kenya mall massacre, and all of the other mass murders with perpetrators who made explicit the fact that they were acting in Islam’s name.  Alternatively, the Upworthy crew defines “peace” this way:  “If I appease them, they’ll leave me alone, which is very peaceful.”  Thinking about it, Upworthy’s contributors probably aren’t that familiar with Churchill either (“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”)

As for the Good Men Project, I’ll let Kevin Williamson describe it, as well as describing one of its latest offerings, which is a gender-neutral dating guide:

“It’s not possible to have a completely gender neutral date,” writes therapist Andrew Smiler in a head-clutchingly asinine essay for the Good Men Project, a repository of painfully navel-gazing male-feminist apologetics that describes itself as “not so much a magazine as a social movement.” While acknowledging the impossibility of his daunting task, Mr. Smiler goes on to offer a great many helpful tips in his “Guy’s Guide to the Gender-Minimized First Date.” But not before making a full and frank apology in advance: “I’m trying to write this guide to apply across all genders, masculine, feminine, trans*, etc. If I’ve missed or something is very wrong, I have faith someone will let me know in the comments. I’m also writing based on my own American background and referring primarily to gender roles as they currently exist in the U.S. Depending on where you’re from, you may have grown up with this approach or you may find it completely foreign.” An asterisk on that asterisk: “Trans*” I am reliably informed, is the new, more inclusive way of referring in writing to the phenomenon of transsexualism, or as the ever-helpful FAQ at “Ask a Trans Woman” explains: “Trans, sans asterisk, has a tendency to mean gender-binary folk (trans men and trans women, often by the DSM-IV, GID definition of the words.) Trans* is more inclusive.” It is getting difficult to keep up.

Mr. Smiler’s advice, almost all of which is catastrophically bad, consists in the main of pre-cooking evasive strategies for such potentially fraught issues as deciding who pays for dinner or whether to split the check in the name of sexual egalitarianism. His guidance: The party proffering the invitation pays for the party accepting it. This is the sole area in which Mr. Smiler, otherwise a celebrant of sexual fluidity, concedes that expectations may be fixed by circumstance. “You can maintain one roll [sic] . . . or you can switch around,” except when the bill comes, which is to say you can pass the rolls but not the check. Not my own style, though fair enough. (But who says you get to make the rules, Mr. Man?)

You can read the rest of Williamson’s exposé here, but I’d definitely recommend having an emesis basin at your side while you read.

Moving beyond Williamson’s “general neutral dating” focus, today’s Good Men Project offerings include the following:

  • “Be Honest With Yourself – How Racist Are You?”  (More than you know, my friend.  More than you know.)
  • “My Daughter’s Room is Grey for a Reason” (What could be more gender neutral than gray?)
  • “The Most Dangerous Four-Letter Word (Dick Simon has found a single word that marginalizes, isolate and insult. That word is THEM.)”  (You need to know that not all Muslims are terrorists.  To which I reply that I totally agree with that statement.  I’m just troubled by the fact that the vast majority of terrorists are Muslims — and, worse, they you refuse to acknowledge that reality.)
  • “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person”  (Believe it or not, it can be done.  All white people are guilty.)
  • “What’s Law Got to Do With It? A Straight Married Guy’s Perspective on Marriage Know Thyself: An Open Letter to My Transgender Child” (I’m glad you love your child.  Now stop politicizing it.)

If you like your men gender-neutral, and that’s how you want to raise your own sons, Good Men Project is definitely the site for you. Me?  I like my men a little more . . . you know, manly, so the site doesn’t just leave me cold, it leaves me with a creepy, crawly, itchy feeling on my skin.

What both these sites offer are huge, gushy, pillowy mountains of soul-saving emotion.  Their implicit promise is that if you are a gender-neutral, non-heteronormative person who is in touch with your feelings; if you provide unswerving, unquestioning support for blacks, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, other sexuals, hefty people, tattooed people, prostitutes, beaten wives, and all of the other officially sanctioned victim classes; and, most importantly, if you revile Republicans and vote Democrat . . . you will be saved.  Hallelujah!!

It’s easy to laugh at Upworthy and the Good Men Project, since they seem more like parodies than anything else.  I can easily imagine Greg Gutfeld and crew laughingly brainstorming “dumb websites for Leftists” and coming up with imaginary sites that are indistinguishable from these two sites.

The reality is, though, that not only aren’t these websites parodies, there’s nothing funny about them.  They’re emotional soul-saving candy for people who have abandoned traditional faiths but still worry about their eternal salvation.  To them, a vote isn’t about what’s best for the country, as a whole; it’s about what’s most likely to make them feel virtuous.  In the absence of a traditional God, spiritual redemption can be found in feel-good Progressivism.

It’s these salvation-seekers who, when asked say that they’re liberals.  Right now, they’re at 23% of the population, which seems like an insignificant number.  It’s not.  For those seeking a return to constitutional government, individual freedom, and a sturdy sense of self-reliance, that 23% is scary because it’s really “23% and counting.”  Part of why this number is rising, even as Obama’s poll numbers and policies are falling, is that sites such as Upworthy and Good Men Project promise eternal salvation in a non-religious world.  If you side with the Progressive’s carefully identified victim-classes, your non-religious soul will be saved from eternal Republican damnation.

All of which gets me back to a point I made a long time ago:  To win this fight, conservatives too must offer the American people a vision that allows them to save their souls.  There’s actually nothing new about this.  In a country that hasn’t stood still since the first European set foot on its shores, Americans, feeling adrift, have always sought salvation, whether it was 18th and 19th century religious revivals, Aimee Semple McPherson hucksterism, or (as is the case now) redemption through voting Democrat. Conservatives have allowed a status quo to exist in which Democrats point to conservatives as the devil incarnate (which is ironic given that are more likely than Progressives to espouse traditional religious views), while promising a baptism and rebirth at the altar of government.

I’ve mentioned before that conservatives with money and style should create a series of widely promoted commercials showing someone doing something wonderful — helping the poor, being an awesome athlete, growing a business out of a home that employs hundreds of people, being an artist, etc. — and all ending with the tag line “and I’m a conservative.”  These people should be Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Young, and Old (and anything else I’ve forgotten).  What’s important is that conservatives must deprive Progressives of their self-anointed status as the group that determines who in America is saved and who is damned.

We keep trying to give intellectual food to people who want only emotional and spiritual reassurance.  It’s fine for us to say that ours are the better ideas, but ideas, no matter how good, are useless if one continuously loses at the ballot box, in the court houses, and, worst of all, in the court of public opinion.  Our first and biggest job is to show that conservatives are nice and that, if you’re looking to save your soul, conservativism is at least as good as, and quite possibly much better than, the Progressivism so relentlessly foisted on them.  Everything else flows from that.

To sell their ideas, conservatives must first re-train Americans to recognize their humanity

Devil votes Republican

One of the striking paradoxes in Marin is that the same people who reliably vote for Democrat candidates actually have quite conservative values.  In my Marin world, people are educated, ambitious, hard-working, married, and family-oriented, and they happily live in almost entirely white communities.  As to that last, it’s not that they would object if a black family moved it.  It would simply have to be a black family that was “one of us,” meaning educated, ambitious, etc.  Despite their essentially conservative values, these hard-working people support endless welfare; these family-oriented, helicopter parents happily consign poor children to the tender mercies of the state; and these married parents, who have the luxury of a stay-at-home mom, support any policy that advances single motherhood.  The Marin dwellers I know are the living embodiment of Charles Murray’s wonderful observation that elite Democrats don’t preach what they practice.

Tiburon and Belvedere, in Marin County, California

Tiburon and Belvedere, in Marin County, California

On the rare occasions when I’m able to speak with my friends without using political labels, they invariably agree with me about the benefits of hard work and marriage, about the social and economic virtues of two-parent families, about the problem with the hypersexualization of young children, and about the fact that the best defense against bullies is projecting a strong attitude of self-defense.  Point out, though, that these values align them with Ted Cruz or Mitt Romney, who support profiting from ones own labor, being married as a predicate to children, encouraging (although not legislating) a more wholesome popular culture, and projecting American strength abroad, and they’ll back away from you as if you’ve suddenly sprouted horns.

How Democrats are trained to view conservatives and Republicans

How Democrats are trained to view conservatives/Republicans

It’s that last phrase that explains why these Democrats, even if their values are completely at odds with their own party, would never, never vote Republican.  In their minds, it’s not that Democrats Republicans have bad ideas; it’s that they’re eeeevvviiiilll.  Not just “evil,” but eeeevvviiiilll.  To them, Republicans haven’t merely sold their souls to the Devil, which implies that it’s possible to regain those lost souls.  Instead, it’s that Republicans have no souls.  To the Marin liberal, politics are controlled by a simple syllogism:

Republicans/conservatives are evil.
I am not evil.
Therefore I can never be a Republican/conservative.

But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, right?  For years, conservatives have wryly observed that, while conservative think liberals are misguided, liberals think conservatives are evil.  So why am I dragging this old issue to the table?  Because now is the time to change this paradigm.

We know from a Harvard study that the young generation is turning against Obama because he betrayed them.  Unfortunately, though, despite their disenchantment with Obama, these youngsters aren’t turning to Republicans.  Given the fact that Democrats lied and Republicans spoke the truth, these youth voters aren’t making a U-turn and heading for the Republican party.  Instead, they’ve opted for a “plague on both your houses” approach to politics.

Their refusal even to contemplate conservativism stems from their constant indoctrination:  Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll.  In any Hollywood film that touches upon politics (and even in those that don’t), Republicans are evil.  In any MSM news story, Republicans are evil.  In songs, at award shows, on Twitter, and Facebook, the cascade of obscene, profane, and scatalogical remarks from those on the Left are uniform:  Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll.

obama-pinocchioWith Obamacare cratering and Obama being revealed as both incompetent and dishonest, Republicans are trying to figure out how to position themselves as the obvious political alternative.  Sadly, the state of American political debate and thinking is not such that conservatives can gain voters by explaining that conservative ideas are better.  We take the world as we’re given, though, and that world demands that we suit our argument to our audience.  Before they listen to us, they need to like us — or at least they need to stop fearing us.  The answer is to run a personality campaign.

When I speak of a “personality campaign,” I refer to gauzy photographs of Republican politicians with their spouses and children.  Although that seems to play well to the base, it does nothing to convert the people who think we’re eeeevvviiiilll.  Democrats have been trained to view those photographs — when they come from conservatives — as the equivalent of photographs showing Nazi camp guards having tea parties in their homes.

What the RNC and other conservative groups should be producing, instead, are gazillions of one-minute-long commercials and YouTube videos, as well as easy-to-share posters for Facebook and Twitter, all of which focus on ordinary whites, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics engaging in good acts of the type that thoughtless, but disenchanted, Democrats can understand.  Each video or poster should end with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”

For example, you might have a video showing an Asian woman working at a homeless shelter, and have it end with her saying “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”  Or you have a poster of a black volunteer hard at work for Habitat for Humanity, over the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”  Another video might show someone getting out of a Prius and into a wheelchair, again with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.

Conservatives are ordinary people -- and that's a good thing

Conservatives are ordinary people — and that’s a good thing

The possibilities are endless, because Republicans are good people, and they actually do many things that make Democrats happy.  Posters and videos of beach clean-ups, animal shelter work, homeless shelter work, Big Brother/Big Sister work, tutoring kids at inner city schools, and raising money for African orphanages, would humanize a group of people who have been demonized simply because they believe in the worth of the individual and in maximum individual freedom.  When it comes to speaking out to Americans, we need to stop focusing on the politicians, whom the media finds it easy to ridicule and denigrate, and start looking into the Republican community, which is brimful of wonderful, caring, people, for whom being wonderful and ordinary is just a part of their lives.

We cannot convert people to our ideas unless we can convince them that their “conservatives are evil” syllogism is utterly false. The new syllogism should go like this:

Republicans/conservatives are good people.
I share most of their values.
Since the Democrat party has lied and broken its promises, and its ideas have failed, I should vote Republican.

[For those of you who find the ideas in here vaguely familiar, my dear friend Don Quixote made precisely this point many years ago. He was, as is often the case, a clear-sighted visionary.]

The paradox of Leftist utopianism and its dystopian art

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

Six By Sondheim” is a new, well-produced HBO documentary that stitches together the many interviews Stephen Sondheim has given over the years since the late 1950s and then ties those interviews in with six of his best-known or (to him) most important songs. NPR enthused that the show leaves viewers wanting more but, as I am not a Sondheim fan, I wanted less — or at least less of the music.  The interviews, however, were interesting.

My takeaway is that Sondheim is a decent, articulate, intelligent man, who thinks deeply about his craft.  I may not like his end product, finding the endless word play emotionally distancing and the music discordant, but there’s serious hard work and lots of talent behind it.

Sondheim has made a living out of thumbing his nose at critics who complain rightly that his songs are not “hummable.”  Certainly that’s part of why I don’t like his music.  I’m simplistic enough to like pop songs that I can sing later.  Although maybe “simplistic” isn’t the right word.  When Irving Berlin rhymes “farmer” with “potato embalmer,” there’s nothing simplistic about that.  It’s a delightful rhyme scheme that captures in three words one aspect of a farmer’s work.  Likewise, there’s nothing embarrassing about Johnny Mercer’s exquisite lyrics to I Remember You.  “When my life is through, and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of it all, then I will tell them I remember you.”  My primary reasoning for disliking Sondheim’s music isn’t that it’s not hummable; it’s that, to my ears, it’s not attractive.

Certainly Sondheim’s subject matter is seldom attractive consisting as it does of strippers, burlesque, broken homes, and psychopathic moms (Gypsy); deadly street gangs (West Side Story); serial killers (Sweeney Todd); a dystopian view of fairy tales (Into The Woods); attempted presidential murderers (Assassins); a man’s throwing away his life’s talent (Merrily We Roll Along); or broken down marriages (Follies).  Listening to Sondheim describe his life, this deeply negative view about relationships and people in general isn’t particularly surprising.

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd

Sondheim’s parents had an unhappy marriage that ended when he was 10.  Before, during, and after the divorce, he was a pawn in his parents drama and, most especially in his mother’s obsession with his father and her manifest dislike for being a parent.  She hated her son and he knew it.  Indeed, when Sondheim was 40, right before his mother went into surgery, she wrote him a letter saying that the worst thing that ever happened to her was to have him.

Sondheim was also a homosexual who came of age during a time when his sexual orientation was unpopular, to say the least.  There’s no doubt that, in the Broadway world, he could easily have found sufficient numbers of like-minded people to form a relationship that went beyond casual sex.  He didn’t, though.  It appears that  his upbringing left him so emotionally constipated that, as he confesses, he was only able to fall in love when he was 60.

Blessedly, Sondheim seems to keep his politics to himself, but he’s certainly part of the zeitgeist on the Lefter side of the political spectrum.  Those who like him are often the same people who sneer at traditional musical theater, with its bright songs and happy endings.

After watching the documentary, I realized that American art and entertainment present a funny paradox.  Leftists tend to create and to prefer art and entertainment that focuses on the sleazy, irredeemable side of human nature.  Many of Sondheim’s plays exemplify this fact, but the list of gutter-gazing art from Leftists is endless.  Hollywood and Broadway Leftists like, and endlessly produce, movies and shows that focus on the bad guys (Tony Soprano, Walter White), depressing situations (Precious, American Beauty), or sordid behavior (just about every movie out of Hollywood lately).

Fred and Ginger

Fred and Ginger

Conservatives tend to yearn for the type of wholesome fare that Hollywood churned out from the time of the Code through the late 1960s.  These shows involve happy people muddling through to happy endings, bad people getting their comeuppances in morally satisfying ways, suffering people rewarded at the end, etc.  The tear-jerkers involved deeply sympathetic characters who tried to do good and failed, not creepy psychopaths who worked hard at being evil and, even when they got their comeuppance, never repented.

Looking at the differing artistic fare the two political cultures generate, you’d think that it was the conservatives who were the utopians and the Leftists who were the harsh realists.  In fact, though, Leftists are the utopians who fervently believe that, if they can just figure out the correct political coercion, they will perfect human kind, turning each man into someone who joyfully, and without greed, rancor, or violence, gives of his labors to support everyone else in the world.  Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that humankind is inherently greedy, rancorous, and violent, and seek to create voluntarily enforced social, moral, and economic systems that harness and control these innate tendencies in a way that’s simultaneously beneficial to the individual and to society at large.

Presumably, this paradox can be resolved as follows:  Leftists use art to establish that the world, especially the American world, is a terrible place because it lacks the guiding hand of a loving police state.  Meanwhile, conservatives use their art aspirationally, to encourage all people to cultivate voluntarily their better selves, or to put their “baser” instincts (i.e., greed) to a use that lifts up their own lives while improving and enriching the world.

Thomas Sowell has a knack

It occurred to me that Sowell is somewhat Victorian in his ability to come up with pithy summations of large ideas.  In a pre-typewriter age, brevity was virtuous.  These are some of his thoughts for today, but I urge you to click on the link and read them all:

President Obama really has a way with words, such as calling the problems that millions of people have had trying to sign up for ObamaCare “glitches.” When the Titanic sank, was that a “glitch”?

[snip]

No one seems as certain that they know what the Republicans need to do to win presidential elections as those Republicans who have lost presidential elections, such as Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole. Moreover, people take them seriously, and seem not to notice that what the losers advocate is the opposite of what won Ronald Reagan two landslide election victories.

If you believe in equal rights, then what do “women’s rights,” “gay rights,” etc., mean? Either they are redundant or they are violations of the principle of equal rights for all.

[snip]

Those who want to “spread the wealth” almost invariably seek to concentrate the power. It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence. Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?  [Emphasis mine.]

Really, I’m not just saying it to be polite:  Go read all of Sowell’s thoughts for today.