My friends and I refuse to give in to despair regarding the Supreme Court ruling

Many people are asserting that, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the end is near.  I see that in op-eds, in blog posts, and in my email box.  America’s constitutional experiment is over, they say.  They might be right.  Or not.

But here’s the deal:  if we give in to despair now, they not only might be right, they will be right.  Our political will is currently the only thing standing between a constitutional America and another failed socialist state.  If we collapse now, we’ve lost.  Or, more simply, winners never quit, and quitters never win.

My last two posts about the Supreme Court ruling might be Pollyanna-ish, as I struggle to find a justification for Judge Roberts’ decision (or more accurately, a justification that doesn’t involve drugs, insanity, and blackmail), but they’re necessary.  They’re necessary for my mental health, but they’re also necessary for the conservative movement in America.  Frankly, if we give up now, we don’t deserve a voice in our country’s future.  We’re wusses, who whine and then do nothing.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  My friend Lulu send me an email that says much the same, and she said I could reprint it here:

Last night I was feeling down about Roberts’ dismaying, incomprehensible betrayal. I felt angry that the fate of our country could ride on the shoulders of one man’s bad decision. Conservatives had enjoyed months of seeing an increasingly unhinged Obama getting closer and closer to a public meltdown. Now we got to again see him strutting and puffing, full of himself and his own grandiosity.

Then I had these comforting thoughts. Obama’s personal victory comes at the price of a law that the majority of Americans don’t want, which diminishes our freedom, and is expensive for the middle class. Romney is a clever man who has run a clever campaign. He will hammer relentlessly on, not only the economy, but on the massive tax we are about to be loaded with to have forced on us something we don’t want. Conservatives are energized and livid.

The victory is Wisconsin hasn’t gone away. The Unions are challenged as never before. We need to be relentless there, and courageous, and continue to point out how the Wisconsin economy revived. We were riding elated after Wisconsin, now they are, but behind Wisconsin was a proven successful economy. Behind ObamaCare is a hugely unpopular and expensive albatross. Defend that.

Here’s what we need to do. Every Conservative should donate to the Romney campaign and to at least one candidate for Senate and the House. Get involved on the grass-roots level in the campaigns. Volunteer.

Do what we can to infiltrate the media. Imagine what an attractive, intelligent black Conservative woman, like Star Parker, could do with a daytime talk show, educating and promoting articulately her ideas on patriotism and self-sufficiency to stay-at-homes and fellow African-Americans. Breitbart always said that Sarah Palin would be the Conservative Oprah. Why not a campaign to get her on TV?

Conservatives, encourage your kids to go into education, to run for the school board, to become administrators. Fight back with numbers.

And expose, expose, expose their lie of being tolerant every time they give the finger to Reagan in the Whitehouse or mock Mormons in a Broadway play, and etc. Inundate the networks with protests

Arise folks, and fight like your country depends on it.

Blogs can  lead the way by helping let us know what we can do, numbers we can call, and by giving us a forum to expose.

A sleeping giant woke with the tea party. Now it is furious. We must Educate, educate, educate.

Giving up is the easy way out.  We need to work harder than ever now.  If nothing else, hard work will keep us from feeling sorry for ourselves.

Please pardon me if I seem like a scold here, but the conservative counter-revolution to the 60s’ counter-culture revolution needs to start somewhere.  We’re at the starting line for the race of our lives, the gun has sounded, and we have to run.  Run hard, run fast.

Dissin’ Liberty

Bruce Bawer, American expat extraordinaire, posted an especially insightful post over this weekend, in which he notes that the peculiarly American assumption that all people want to be free just may be a tad naive.

He cites Jewish writer Tuvia Tenenbom’s (“I Sleep in Hitler’s Room”) observation, upon traversing the former East Germany, that most of the people Tenenbom encountered longed for the “good times” living under the East German dictatorship. In the Middle East, we see peoples offered the light of freedom only to turn further toward the darkness. As Bawer points out, we should know that not all people want to be free: after all, the masses that marched in support of the Nazis and Communists hardly marched for the cause of freedom. Read it all…Bawer makes excellent points in support of his thesis.

We, as a nation, have existed on the premise that all people (like our forefathers) want to be free. This (false?) premise has driven much of American foreign policy. It may also blind us to what is really going on in our own country with regard to the Liberal/Left, the Democrat party and the OWS movement.

I believe that I can understand the pull of serfdom for many people. Just think of all of the difficult life decisions that are taken away from the individual serf: as wards of the state, they don’t have to worry about where they will get their food (of course, they can forget about shopping at Whole Foods as well), whether they will meet their financial needs (albeit at a subsistence level), understanding politics, moral values, education, finding a job…etc. It is, in other words, regression to the mind of a child. They can simply exist for the moment of the day: no responsibilities but, also, no hope. Like vegetables, if you think about it.

So, what do you think? Is what is happening today a defining struggle between those of us that want to be free and those that seek a return to childhood? Is it as simple as this? Because, if it is, then we really are witnessing the final death struggle of the American Republic.

Nemesis and the elitism of the elites

Much has been written about playwright David Mamet’s coming-out as a conservative and his reasons for so doing, but there is still much gold to be mined from Mamet’s mind.

 

Today’s National Review Online revisits Mamet in this stellar piece by Matthew Shaffer that contains this one gem that perfectly encapsulates some of the alphabetized mindsets encountered and challenged on this blog:

“But liberalism, Mamet thinks, is dismantling culture. The problem is that “the Left today is essentially an elitist movement, and it has invested a lot of time and money in the idea that they know better.” Elites have been led to think “by getting the grades, and getting into good schools and think-tanks and government positions that they are fit” to reorder society more rationally. But this requires first demolishing the order produced by the organic processes of tradition, democracy, and markets — the culture. Why are some so susceptible to this fatal conceit? “They get out of elite schools being told nothing but, ‘You’re the best.’” Hubris — a dramatist’s area of expertise. (The liberalism of his own elite group, the literati, he blames on “devotion to fantasy — this sort of Manichean view.”)

 

You can read the entire article here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/270190/david-mamet-s-exodus-matthew-shaffer

 

Keep this in mind when considering the role that the Maryland school system has now openly assumed for itself as an indoctrination center for Liberal elitist belief systems, by requiring that all students must pass an “environmental literacy” test before being allowed to graduate.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-board-of-education-approves-environmental-literacy-graduation-requirement/2011/06/21/AGW53xeH_story.html

 

To reiterate what I’ve posted before, there is nothing scientific about “environmentalism” or “environmental sciences”, just as there is nothing scientific about “political science”. It is indoctrination, pure and simple, targeted toward the destruction of prevailing belief systems and culture.

 

I think that this will backfire. Eventually forced to confront reality in the age of the internet, students will eventually realize when they have been corrupted and degraded by Leftwing ideologues and I predict that their reaction will be harsh. In the end, it is this narcissistic hubris of the Leftwing elites that will destroy them. I have no doubt that the students that today provide such ready fodder for indoctrination today will eventually turn on their teachers with the retribution of nemesis. It will be a cultural revolution.

Being forgiven for our past sins — or, maybe, O’Donnell has grown up *UPDATED*

I know this will come as a surprise to all of you, but I was not born wise or well informed.  I blush to think of some of the behaviors in which I indulged, and the ideas that I held, when I was younger.

When I was a very little girl, I picked up from the secular people surrounding me the idea that there is no God.  Not only did I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, although I was scared enough of the teacher that I still moved my lips, I also thought all believers were fools.  I held to this belief for many, many years.

After reading Gone With The Wind for the first time, when I was 11, I came away with the impression that slavery wasn’t really such a bad thing, as long as you treated your slaves nicely. It took me a while to shake this belief too, especially because it seemed to me that the way many American blacks lived, whether in San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunters’ Point, LA’s Watts and South Central, or Michigan’s Detroit, wasn’t a great improvement over the life of a slave.  The concept of freedom, versus mere material welfare, eluded me.

At around the same time, as a child who grew up watching the Vietnam War on the news, as well as all the antiwar protests, I thought the American military was evil, and that Communists weren’t so bad.

When I was 17, and California voters pass Prop. 13, I thought it was outrageous that people should want to keep their own money when it could go to the government, which would spend it for the people’s own good, only it would do it better.

When I was 18, I voted for Jimmy Carter and was deeply saddened when he lost.

When I was a 20-year old student attending Berkeley, and I heard that Ronald Reagan had been shot, I agreed with my fellow students that he deserved it, a sentiment that earned me a harsh and well-deserved scolding from my parents.

When I was 21 and living in England, I wore a keffiyeh, because it was a cool fashion statement.  That same year, I listened in silence as a British Arab man told a terrible and cruel holocaust joke, because I was too socially intimidated to speak up.

When I returned to America in the early 1980s, I was fascinated by MTV, and watched it obsessively, believing that somehow those videos, with their rocking beats and alternatively meaningless or crude images, could enrich my life.

Throughout my teens and 20s, I hated Christian proselytizers, because I thought they wanted to hurt me, a Jew.  It took me decades to understand that they were acting out of great spiritual generosity, and that they would respond immediately and respectfully to a politely given “no.”

Also throughout my teens and twenties, I was mean.  I was an awkward, geeky bookworm, with a quick wit that I used to great effect to hurt people before they could hurt me.  I always had friends, but woe betide anyone who fell on the cutting side of my tongue.  A physical and moral coward, I nevertheless believed that, when it came to insults, the best defense was a good offense.

I was young and I was stupid, stupid, stupid.  I cringe when I look back at the things I did and thought.  What’s really sad is that the only thing that stopped me from making even worse mistakes was my cowardice.  I didn’t really live life.  I observed it from the sidelines, and simply managed to collect a whole bunch of bad ideas as I went along.

The good news is that I grew up.  During those same years, I managed to learn a lot.  At Berkeley, because I couldn’t understand the Marxist cant that permeated every non-science class, and therefore ignored it, I managed to learn about history and art and literature.  At law school (despite a miserable semester with Elizabeth Warren), I learned how to revere the constitution, respect the law and, significantly, analyze data.

Being a lawyer was also a great gift.  It exposed me to activist judges, something that taught me that, without a rule of law, businesses crumble and anarchy arises.  It was frustrating to know that, if I was representing a bank or business in a San Francisco court against an individual, the bank or business would always lose, no matter how rigorously it followed the law, while the individual would always win, no matter how sleazy or careless.  The same held true in employer/employee cases.  I understood that judicial activism increased the cost of doing business, drove businesses out of the Bay Area (and California), and made it virtually impossible for business people to have reliable predictors to control their conduct.

Earning and spending money taught me that capitalism, if properly policed (not controlled, just policed) enriches people, rather than impoverishes or enslaves them.  Living as a responsible adult (rather than a child at home or a cocooned student) taught me that government, even with the best will in the world, is an inefficient engine that moves slowly and that inevitably crushes individuality.  I realized that I prefer to keep power diffuse, amongst myriad people with different ideas about the world, rather than aggregated in one, all-powerful being, whether that being is a person or an ostensibly republican government.  This made me a strong anti-Communist and, indeed, an anti anything totalitarian.

I learned that the old saying was right, and that I could truly catch more flies with honey (especially true honey, not false words of flattery), than I could with vinegar.  I came to regret very deeply the verbal hurts I had inflicted on people.  You will seldom catch me being mean, in act or word.  (Although I admit to slipping when the migraines hit or the kids fight.)

I found it impossible to cling to my prejudices about God and religious people.  The more I learned about science, the more I asked myself, “How did it begin?”  I accept the scientific record and scientific conclusions all the way back to the Big Bang — but what came before?  Could all this something truly have come from nothing?  I don’t know that there is a God, but I’d be an arrogant fool, faced with those questions, to deny a God.  I’m not a believer, but I try to live a moral life as an open-minded non-believer.  I respect believers.

As for Christianity, I learned that people can hold beliefs different from mine, and still be truly, deeply good people, whom it is often an honor to know.  My history studies helped me to understand that the Inquisition is over and that, for the past two hundred years, Christianity has been a uniform force for good in the world.  There are, of course, bad people who profess to be Christians, but Christianity as a belief system is a good thing and we should be grateful for it.  (I also learned, which few Jews accept, that the Nazis were not a Christian movement, but were a violently anti-Christian movement, something that helped me open my heart and mind to Christianity.)

Watching our military during the First Gulf war, and meeting military people as I got older, I began to understand that ours is an exceptional military:  a volunteer organization, controlled by the Constitution, and peopled by ordinary Americans.  Well, “ordinary” in that they’re neither the dregs, nor the aristocrats, as is the case in other, class-based societies.  Instead, they’re people like you and me.  Except, unlike me, they’re brave, even the ones who just joined to pay off their student loans.  Oh, and they’re patriots, which isn’t that common.  And of course, they’re awfully polite and frequently so kind.  But other than that….

So here I am:  someone who was profoundly stupid as a child and young person, but who had the capacity to learn and who did, in fact, learn and grow.

You know where this is going, don’t you?  Christine O’Donnell, of course.

I get the feeling that Christine O’Donnell was a very lost soul when she was young.  The latest evidence of this fact is that Bill Maher is boasting that he has tapes of her admitting to practicing witchcraft (although, frankly, this should endear her to the Left, which loves its Gaia-worshipping Wiccans).

When O’Donnell hit Christianity, she hit it hard, taking a lot of extreme positions (masturbation being the one that has the Left most atwitter) — which is normal for a convert.  The zealots usually come from the recently converted, the ones who still have enthusiasm and who also feel that extremism is an act of repentance.  She’s had financial problems, too, although that leaves her in good company, since it seems that this is a common trait in federal employees.

But O’Donnell has grown up.  Or at least she says she has and, for now, I choose to believe her — because I grew up too.  I wasn’t as silly a youngster as O’Donnell, but I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, which gave me a couple of advantages:  I had a slightly more friendly pop culture (TV still hewed to traditional values) and my youthful idiocies didn’t get captured forever on video tape.

Here’s the difference as I see it between O’Donnell and Obama:  Both of them had idiotic belief systems when they were young, because that’s what a lot of young people do.  But Obama’s belief systems hardened into true-blue (or do I mean true-red?) Marxism, whereas O’Donnell grew up.  She held to her core conservative values (no abortion, small government, etc.), but seems to have abandoned the worst excesses of her youth.

More than that, her conversion to maturity seems sincere.  She has indeed walked away from her immaturity. Yes, O’Donnell is still a pugnacious, somewhat volatile young woman, but she’s not a Wiccan now, she’s not going to set the masturbation police on you, and she’s not going to force all Americans to worship in her church.

If we take her at her word, the O’Donnell of today will go to Washington, D.C. to cut government spending, shrink government’s size, and push for a more Constitutionally run government than we currently have. And there’s nothing crazy or immature about that.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  I seem to be in good (and forgiving) company, as this related post shows.

UPDATE II:  David Swindle has taken my post and run with it.  He makes the point that O’Donnell’s positions on lust, porn and masturbation are “serious” not “extreme” if you have truly embraced Christianity.  I think he’s absolutely right.

The fact is, though, that the media is selling O’Donnell as “extreme” to Americans who aren’t always that serious about Christianity or who are, like me, fairly conservative, but haven’t fully shaken off a lifetime of urban liberal thinking.  I therefore used the word “extreme” in this post in relation to point of view of people who could be swayed by the media’s attack.  In fact, I agree with David’s take about the smooth and reasonable integration of O’Donnell’s faith and her morality.

The one other thing that informs my use of the word “extreme” is the fact that, as someone older than both David and O’Donnell, the whole “spilling your guts on video about your sexual (or wiccan) beliefs” is just a little freaky to me — and that’s a generational thing.  We didn’t do that when I was growing up probably because, in that pre-video, pre-MTV era, we couldn’t do it.

UPDATE III:  If you’ve read UPDATE II, above, you must read Zombie’s wonderful post mixing up quotations from O’Donnell and Carter.  Both are Christians, but you can tell the O’Donnell posts, because she sounds smarter and less narcissistic.  Oh, and the Left loves Jimmah.

UPDATE IV:  Please visit the Anchoress on this too.

Asking the Right Questions

Have you ever been in a debate with a Liberal/Lefty and been so overwhelmed with either the vapidity of their arguments or the absolute volume of misstatement, sloganeering or fact-twisting that you are left open-mouthed and unable to respond. After the interchange, you kick yourself by thinking, “I should have said….”. Happens to me all the time. Instead of constructively engaging, my mind asks “where do I begin?”. Or, alternately, I may start hammering them with facts and my own positions, none of which they will retain.

Over time, in business negotiations, I have learned that the best way to buy time while digesting information is to ask questions to better flesh out the issue. I don’t mean a Socratic dialog, I mean questions meant to make the other person think about their position(s). I offer the following in the context of the very excellent comments that have been made on this blog, recently, about how to constructively engage Liberals, especially the Liberals who have no idea of why they think the way they do, not to mention having a clue regarding why conservatives and libertarians think as we do. I propose that this latter designation represents a very significant block of prospective voters and we need to work on them, not just before November but with an eye to 2012.

In my own evolution from Scoop Jackson Liberalism to a blended libertarian conservatism, I recalled how one memorable question could completely change my world view. It didn’t happen right away, but over time I would mull that question and it would have its intended effect of making me change my mind. So, I would like to ask for your help with this question: how can we use single questions to help puncture the Liberal/Left bubble-sphere?” I also propose that using “why do you think…” is a good way of appealing to the other person’s intellect.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

When a Liberal uses the race card: “why do you think that people on the Left are so utterly obsessed with peoples’ race?”

When a Liberal talks about America’s supposed insults to Islam: “Why do you think that all countries the surrounding the world of Islam are subject to Muslim attacks and terrorism?”

On Democrats being for the little guy: “Why do you think it is that the Democrat leadership is so filthy rich?”

On the Tea Party: “With what beliefs of the Tea Party do you disagree?”

On Democrats being for minorities: “Why do you think that blacks have fared so badly in Democrat-controlled inner cities since Johnson’s War on Poverty of 50 years-ago?”

One Liberal Dependency on Government: “Please share your thoughts with me on how one can be simultaneously dependent on Government programs and still be free?”

When Liberals talk about Islam’s tolerance for others: “How many Muslims do you know? Can you tell me what’s in the Koran about tolerance toward others?” (OK, that’s two questions).

Would anyone else like to either help improve upon or add to this list of  ”one, memorable questions” that can puncture Liberal/Lefties’ world views?

All About Money

One of the things that I try to understand is the Great Divide between today’s Liberals and conservatives that has left us talking past one another on policy issues. Frankly, I have concluded that discussion with Liberals is often futile because we attribute different meanings to words and concepts.

One of those concepts, I suspect, has to do with “money”.  Let me throw the following proposition on the table for discussion:

Liberal /Lefties view “money” as a fixed, tangible quantity with intrinsic value, like gold coins, for example. Thus, the value of money is intrinsic to the lucre itself, be it coins or dollar notes. Conservatives, on the other hand, see “money” more abstractly as representing “created value”…as scrip or IOU on value created or received. As economists put it, money is a “medium of exchange” for value. So, for liberals, “money” is something tangible to that must be amassed by taking from someone else’s stash. For conservatives, “money” is something more abstract that must to be created (i.e. goods or services) directly (e.g., wages) or indirectly (e.g., inheritance) through the creation of “value”.

How might this color our perceptions of one another?

1) When people like Bill Gates amass a large quantity of money by creating products that many people wish to purchase, conservatives view Gates’ money as a reflection of the value that he created and contributed others. No hard feelings there – it’s a fair exchange. A Liberal/Lefty, however, sees only Gate’s amassed pot of lucre that appears disproportionately high compared to the lucre stored in other peoples’ pots. They see this imbalance as patently unfair, especially since this lucre was transferred from other peoples’ modest stashes into Bill Gates’ already whopping big stash: Bill has more, all of his customers have less.

2) When money is needed to achieve a desirable social or governmental goal, a conservative recognizes that such money needs to be generated somewhere to pay for this goal. This can only be done by either drawing down existing value (confiscating peoples’ lucre) or by creating new  ‘value” that can be taxed (i.e., growing the economy). A Liberal/Lefty doesn’t make this connection – they see the process simply as one of either redistributing the existing lucre from other peoples’ pots or creating new lucre by printing more money. The problem of printing new lucre, of course, is that it is still underwritten by a fixed quantity of value – expanding money supply representing a fixed value means that each dollar is worth less. We call that inflation.

I can’t tell you how many times Liberals have looked at me with puzzlement when I have asked where they expect to get the money for their favored social programs.

3) De-linking “money” from the process of wealth creation makes it easy for Liberal/Lefties to confuse using tax money to pay for unemployment checks, dance troupes or road repair as “economic stimulus”. You are, after all, taking lucre sitting idle in some peoples’ pots and putting that lucre into other peoples’ pockets to spend on purchases. Unfortunately, the fact is that such activities do not in themselves create new value. This cannot therefore “grow” the economy.

What do you think? Am I onto something? And, if so, what other aspects of the Great Divide does this help to explain? Does this help or hinder us in discussing our differences with the Liberal /Left?

GOP, RINOS, and the Tea Party — by guest blogger W. H. Strom

First, this is what my background and has shaped my thinking, my starting point.  I am a hard line conservative.  I have been ever since gaining my maturity.  I am well educated, two master’s degrees, one in Strategic Intelligence.  I was born on the left coast, I am a practicing Christian, I live in Virginia, and was in the military (30 years) and a military contractor (10 years).  Now, why did I just bring all that up?  In my profession I have had to be an active listener.  First I flew fighter aircraft in combat and in opposition to the great USSR (Russia to the newbees) I had to know the world situation.  Later as an intelligence officer I changed my perspective somewhat, more toward learning what was going to happen in the near future.  I became very versed to situations and attitudes in the area of potential adversaries.

When you study potential adversaries motivations are as important, or more so, than capabilities.  The US military has sufficient wherewithal to destroy or damage most capability that our adversaries possess.  It’s the motivation that is the driving force.  As an intelligence officer and aircrew member, I was more than a little interested in the motivation of the people who were, occasionally, shooting at me.  After the wall fell, the intelligence game became much more difficult.  Instead of just one adversary, there was the potential of many.  Again, why do I bring this up?

I am “tuned in”, so to speak, to motivations and behavior.  I don’t much care about what people say as what they do.  What I have seen in the US Congress is that almost every time there is some great contentious bill come to vote, that vote is nearly always along party lines, regardless of “Blue Dogs” or “Moderate” Republicans. Witness the last Senate vote on health care, and several other like votes in 2009.  That was even more evident prior to the great upraising of the American public through such devices as the tea parties.

I just read the Wall Street Journal article on “Purity” tests.  I don’t like them.  Throughout my careers I have pretty much run my actions by “selective neglect”.  I do what I want of my superior’s wishes and ignore the rest.  I have been, on occasion, slapped down, but generally, I have had a relatively successful career.  There are others out there like me.  Locking someone up to a “test” to a list of values, of which some may vary in the next few years, does not seem like a good idea.  If there were to be a “Purity” test, it should be broad: defend the constitution; kill political correctness in all its varied guises; support a strong defense; really understand and expose the roots of  the Muslim religion; stand by our allies; and let freedom reign.

Third parties cannot win.  They are too small, take votes from a larger party and let someone in without a majority (Clinton’s first win).  It takes several elections to take over one of the top two.  In the mean-time, the left will smash this country.  What has started, and what we need to continue, is a redefinition of the Republican Party.  I am a George W. Bush admirer, but he let some stuff slip by in his last year in office, perhaps to salvage a “historical” view of his presidency.  Had I gone through the eight years he did, my sanity would also be questioned, but some attitudes and decisions must be reversed.  Goldwater did it for us in 1964, it’s time again.

I like Tea Parties.  It started out as a movement and needs to stay that way.  If it becomes a party it is very possible that much of its efforts will go toward maintaining its status.  That is a killer.  So, let’s all calmly look at the big picture.  Ultimately it comes down to how many Ds and Rs there are in Congress.  I vote for Rs.  I don’t much care if they are RINOS (as long as there are no good conservatives running).  I definitely do not vote for any Ds, regardless of how well they campaign, witness the last Presidential election and the Senatorial election here in Virginia a few years before that.  I only care about results, and Rs are much more likely to vote the way I want them than Ds.  Let’s not cut our own throats.  Nothing is done in a day or even in an election cycle.  Let’s get involved in the GOP and revolt from within if we don’t like what we see.  And for God’s Sake, let’s get out from under the elitist Northeasterners.

I am like the commenter I saw at this blog earlier:  I voted for Palin.  I like my politics sweet and simple, no secrets.  Whether Sarah can get an adequate staff together and overcome what the MSM has done to here, I don’t know, but now she is my template for a solid conservative people’s candidate.  If you don’t like my choice, that’s OK.  I will go along with the majority, unlike the members of the Democrat Party (I just can’t call them democratic).

Last comment: We must keep the pressure on.  Yes it was great to elect Senator Brown of Massachusetts, but remember, he is an eastern Republican.  He has stated that he could vote with the Democrats on some issues.  He is not Reagan, Palin, or even Gingrich.  We must continue to push the events of the past year, keep it in the news so the massive Democrat public relations campaign which has started doesn’t pervert the great uninterested public.

Summary: The GOP, along with all the RINOS who will play with us, needs to merge with the tea partiers and present a united front.  We need to keep the momentum going and not allow the 50 to 60 percent of the American public, who really don’t pay attention to politics, to forget the horrible fate that almost befell us.

W. H. Strom
Conservative

Literary shorthand

Some time ago, I wrote an article about romance novels in which I pointed out that many authors, to telegraph that their lead male character is reliable, strong, honorable and handy in a tense situation, give that character a military background.  In the same way, I’ve noticed when reading romance novels written by those on the New York Times side of the political block that the way to telegraph that a character is rotten is to make him or her politically right wing.  (And I really mean it about the New York Times thing, since these same authors will always announce their characters’ intellectual chops by alluding to them reading the Times on Sunday morning — especially in post-sex romance mode.)

For example, I’m reading Toby Devens’ My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet), which is a pretty decent book about menopausal woman navigating their way through divorce (or widowhood) and dating.  It is most definitely not a political book.  Nevertheless, by the first third of the book, Devens twice resorts to politics to make character points.  The first time comes when she describes one of the partners in her narrator’s medical practice, a man who points out that the practice’s bottom line is not going to support too many pro bono surgeries:

“The times they are a-changing,” Neil said.  “We cannot afford liberal largesse.  We are not a welfare provider.”  I’d heard this too many times before.  Neil is way to the right politically.  (p. 47.)

Given that the book came out in 2005, maybe we can forgive the author for being unaware of post-2005 studies establishing that it’s those who are way to the right who are more charitable, not those to the left, who sit around and wait for the government to provide.

That wasn’t Devens’ only attack on conservatives though.  Her most loathsome character is a hate-filled, manipulative daughter who forces her widowed mother to choose between a new love and her grandchild.  You get the picture, right?  In case you don’t, though, Devens drives it home by reminding us that the daughter is practically Hitler-esque in her horribleness:

Summer was a stiff-necked little prickette who supported the most outrageously right-wing political cause with the money she and her equally tight-assed husband had reaped from the sale of their dot-com.

Quick, fellow readers!  Get out the garlic.

I’m still reading the book, despite its political mean-spiritedness because it is, otherwise, a decent novel about “women of a certain age.”  I’ve decided that, just as I ignore Dorothy Sayer’s periodic forays into antisemitism, excusing them on the ground that she was an upper class person in Britain in the 1930s, and (a) those attitudes came with the territory and (b) she is often sympathetic to, as opposed to genocidally inclined towards, Jews, so too will I ignore Devens’ outbursts.  She’s obviously a woman of her class and time (New York, early 21st Century) and has to be forgiven her foibles.  But I wouldn’t let my daughter read the book, and that’s entirely aside from the R rating I’d give it on account of the sex scenes.

When moderation is not a virtue

Moderation is a virtue in so many things:  if we eat moderately, we can enjoy a wide variety of foods without risking our weight or health; if we drink moderately, we can enjoy alcohol without the negatives of alcoholism; and if we exercise moderately, we can increase our health without damaging our bodies.

It turns out, though, that in matters of principle, certain core beliefs cannot be moderated without destroying the principle itself.  That’s what conservatives discovered this election:  without core conservative principles as ballast, “conservatism” becomes nothing but a word, unanchored to anything at all.  There is no there there.

My statement, above, is not a demand for extremism.  It is, however, an insistence that, in the next go round, conservatives need to figure out which principles are inextricably intertwined with conservative notions, and then they need to stick to those principles.

John McCain, who is as good and true a man as ever there was, didn’t have those fixed principles.  Instead, as a maverick, he respond situationally, with his gut leading his response as often as not.

Obama, on the other hand, does have fixed principles.  There are two guiding lights in his life, and he never loses sign of them:  First, his own self-aggrandizement and, second, his Leftist world view.  I suspect that, despite all the lies, prevarications and secrets, voters picked up on the underlying fixity of purpose, translated that in their own minds as “strength,” and voted for him as the strong candidate.

All of which is a lead-in to John Hawkins’ excellent analysis of why conservatives cannot build a strong political party around moderates.  Note as you read it that he is not calling for political extremism.  He’s not demanding that conservatives become fascist totalitarian types, who demand total control of the world and the deaths of their enemies.  Instead, he is arguing that, without fixed principles, a political party becomes meaningless — and loses.

In my liberal days, I used to fancy myself a moderate, and I would joke that I was so middle of the road, I got hit by traffic coming from both directions.  It never occurred to me that this wasn’t virtuous, but was merely weakly foolish.  I would have done better to analyze carefully the traffic coming from either direction, and to pick the side that seemed to build that best cars.

Prescient Reagan

This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last, that conservatives who abandon their principles go down in flames to liberals who run to the middle (but invariably govern to the Left).  Reagan saw it happen in 1975, described what was wrong, and prescribed the way for true conservatism to be resurgent.  The following is a long speech, but every word is worth reading, so I present it here in its entirety:

Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election. It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.

Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached “the gospel,” in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.

Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own.

Bureaucracy was assailed and fiscal responsibility hailed. Even George McGovern donned sackcloth and ashes and did penance for the good people of South Dakota.

But let’s not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means.

The “Young Turks” had campaigned against “evil politicians.” They turned against committee chairmen of their own party, displaying a taste and talent as cutthroat power politicians quite in contrast to their campaign rhetoric and idealism. Still, we must not forget that they molded their campaigning to fit what even they recognized was the mood of the majority.

And we must see to it that the people are reminded of this as they now pursue their ideological goals—and pursue them they will.

I know you are aware of the national polls which show that a greater (and increasing) number of Americans—Republicans, Democrats and independents—classify themselves as “conservatives” than ever before. And a poll of rank-and-file union members reveals dissatisfaction with the amount of power their own leaders have assumed, and a resentment of their use of that power for partisan politics. Would it shock you to know that in that poll 68 percent of rank-and-file union members of this country came out endorsing right-to-work legislation?

These polls give cause for some optimism, but at the same time reveal a confusion that exists and the need for a continued effort to “spread the word.”

In another recent survey, of 35,000 college and university students polled, three-fourths blame American business and industry for all of our economic and social ills. The same three-fourths think the answer is more (and virtually complete) regimentation and government control of all phases of business—including the imposition of wage and price controls. Yet, 80 percent in the same poll want less government interference in their own lives!

In 1972 the people of this country had a clear-cut choice, based on the issues—to a greater extent than any election in half a century. In overwhelming numbers they ignored party labels, not so much to vote for a man or even a policy as to repudiate a philosophy. In doing so they repudiated that final step into the welfare state—that call for the confiscation and redistribution of their earnings on a scale far greater than what we now have. They repudiated the abandonment of national honor and a weakening of this nation’s ability to protect itself.

A study has been made that is so revealing that I’m not surprised it has been ignored by a certain number of political commentators and columnists. The political science department of Georgetown University researched the mandate of the 1972 election and recently presented its findings at a seminar.

Taking several major issues which, incidentally, are still the issues of the day, they polled rank-and-file members of the Democratic party on their approach to these problems. Then they polled the delegates to the two major national conventions—the leaders of the parties.

They found the delegates to the Republican convention almost identical in their responses to those of the rank-and-file Republicans. Yet, the delegates to the Democratic convention were miles apart from the thinking of their own party members.

The mandate of 1972 still exists. The people of America have been confused and disturbed by events since that election, but they hold an unchanged philosophy.

Our task is to make them see that what we represent is identical to their own hopes and dreams of what America can and should be. If there are questions as to whether the principles of conservatism hold up in practice, we have the answers to them. Where conservative principles have been tried, they have worked. Gov. Meldrim Thomson is making them work in New Hampshire; so is Arch Moore in West Virginia and Mills Godwin in Virginia. Jack Williams made them work in Arizona and I’m sure Jim Edwards will in South Carolina.

If you will permit me, I can recount my own experience in California.

When I went to Sacramento eight years ago, I had the belief that government was no deep, dark mystery, that it could be operated efficiently by using the same common sense practiced in our everyday life, in our homes, in business and private affairs.

The “lab test” of my theory – California—was pretty messed up after eight years of a road show version of the Great Society. Our first and only briefing came from the outgoing director of finance, who said: “We’re spending $1 million more a day than we’re taking in. I have a golf date. Good luck!” That was the most cheerful news we were to hear for quite some time.

California state government was increasing by about 5,000 new employees a year. We were the welfare capital of the world with 16 percent of the nation’s caseload. Soon, California’s caseload was increasing by 40,000 a month.

We turned to the people themselves for help. Two hundred and fifty experts in the various fields volunteered to serve on task forces at no cost to the taxpayers. They went into every department of state government and came back with 1,800 recommendations on how modern business practices could be used to make government more efficient. We adopted 1,600 of them.

We instituted a policy of “cut, squeeze and trim” and froze the hiring of employees as replacements for retiring employees or others leaving state service.

After a few years of struggling with the professional welfarists, we again turned to the people. First, we obtained another task force and, when the legislature refused to help implement its recommendations, we presented the recommendations to the electorate.

It still took some doing. The legislature insisted our reforms would not work; that the needy would starve in the streets; that the workload would be dumped on the counties; that property taxes would go up and that we’d run up a deficit the first year of $750 million.

That was four years ago. Today, the needy have had an average increase of 43 percent in welfare grants in California, but the taxpayers have saved $2 billion by the caseload not increasing that 40,000 a month. Instead, there are some 400,000 fewer on welfare today than then.

Forty of the state’s 58 counties have reduced property taxes for two years in a row (some for three). That $750-million deficit turned into an $850-million surplus which we returned to the people in a one-time tax rebate. That wasn’t easy. One state senator described that rebate as “an unnecessary expenditure of public funds.”

For more than two decades governments—federal, state, local—have been increasing in size two-and-a-half times faster than the population increase. In the last 10 years they have increased the cost in payroll seven times as fast as the increase in numbers.

We have just turned over to a new administration in Sacramento a government virtually the same size it was eight years ago. With the state’s growth rate, this means that government absorbed a workload increase, in some departments as much as 66 percent.

We also turned over—for the first time in almost a quarter of a century—a balanced budget and a surplus of $500 million. In these eight years just passed, we returned to the people in rebates, tax reductions and bridge toll reductions $5.7 billion. All of this is contrary to the will of those who deplore conservatism and profess to be liberals, yet all of it is pleasing to its citizenry.

Make no mistake, the leadership of the Democratic party is still out of step with the majority of Americans.

Speaker Carl Albert recently was quoted as saying that our problem is “60 percent recession, 30 percent inflation and 10 percent energy.” That makes as much sense as saying two and two make 22.

Without inflation there would be no recession. And unless we curb inflation we can see the end of our society and economic system. The painful fact is we can only halt inflation by undergoing a period of economic dislocation—a recession, if you will.

We can take steps to ease the suffering of some who will be hurt more than others, but if we turn from fighting inflation and adopt a program only to fight recession we are on the road to disaster.

In his first address to Congress, the president asked Congress to join him in an all-out effort to balance the budget. I think all of us wish that he had re-issued that speech instead of this year’s budget message.

What side can be taken in a debate over whether the deficit should be $52 billion or $70 billion or $80 billion preferred by the profligate Congress?

Inflation has one cause and one cause only: government spending more than government takes in. And the cure to inflation is a balanced budget. We know, of course, that after 40 years of social tinkering and Keynesian experimentation that we can’t do this all at once, but it can be achieved. Balancing the budget is like protecting your virtue: you have to learn to say “no.”

This is no time to repeat the shopworn panaceas of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. John Kenneth Galbraith, who, in my opinion, is living proof that economics is an inexact science, has written a new book. It is called “Economics and the Public Purpose.” In it, he asserts that market arrangements in our economy have given us inadequate housing, terrible mass transit, poor health care and a host of other miseries. And then, for the first time to my knowledge, he advances socialism as the answer to our problems.

Shorn of all side issues and extraneous matter, the problem underlying all others is the worldwide contest for the hearts and minds of mankind. Do we find the answers to human misery in freedom as it is known, or do we sink into the deadly dullness of the Socialist ant heap?

Those who suggest that the latter is some kind of solution are, I think, open to challenge. Let’s have no more theorizing when actual comparison is possible. There is in the world a great nation, larger than ours in territory and populated with 250 million capable people. It is rich in resources and has had more than 50 uninterrupted years to practice socialism without opposition.

We could match them, but it would take a little doing on our part. We’d have to cut our paychecks back by 75 percent; move 60 million workers back to the farm; abandon two-thirds of our steel-making capacity; destroy 40 million television sets; tear up 14 of every 15 miles of highway; junk 19 of every 20 automobiles; tear up two-thirds of our railroad track; knock down 70 percent of our houses; and rip out nine out of every 10 telephones. Then, all we have to do is find a capitalist country to sell us wheat on credit to keep us from starving!

Our people are in a time of discontent. Our vital energy supplies are threatened by possibly the most powerful cartel in human history. Our traditional allies in Western Europe are experiencing political and economic instability bordering on chaos.

We seem to be increasingly alone in a world grown more hostile, but we let our defenses shrink to pre-Pearl Harbor levels. And we are conscious that in Moscow the crash build-up of arms continues. The SALT II agreement in Vladivostok, if not re-negotiated, guarantees the Soviets a clear missile superiority sufficient to make a “first strike” possible, with little fear of reprisal. Yet, too many congressmen demand further cuts in our own defenses, including delay if not cancellation of the B-1 bomber.

I realize that millions of Americans are sick of hearing about Indochina, and perhaps it is politically unwise to talk of our obligation to Cambodia and South Vietnam. But we pledged—in an agreement that brought our men home and freed our prisoners—to give our allies arms and ammunition to replace on a one-for-one basis what they expend in resisting the aggression of the Communists who are violating the cease-fire and are fully aided by their Soviet and Red Chinese allies. Congress has already reduced the appropriation to half of what they need and threatens to reduce it even more.

Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word? And, if we do, who would ever trust us again? To consider committing such an act so contrary to our deepest ideals is symptomatic of the erosion of standards and values. And this adds to our discontent.

We did not seek world leadership; it was thrust upon us. It has been our destiny almost from the first moment this land was settled. If we fail to keep our rendezvous with destiny or, as John Winthrop said in 1630, “Deal falsely with our God,” we shall be made “a story and byword throughout the world.”

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

And let it provide indexing—adjusting the brackets to the cost of living—so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government’s share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.