The Death of a Bad Idea

English: Picture of Barack Obama's first Weekl...

English: Picture of Barack Obama’s first Weekly Address as President of the United States – Saturday, January 24th, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andrew Klavan. But no video this time. He doesn’t need to do one, he expresses himself just fine in proper English. Yeah, I like his videos too, but some things are too deep to penetrate from a video. This is, I think, one of them.

The left is simply and completely bankrupt. They have ruined Europe, wounded, perhaps mortally, the United Kingdom, and inflicted severe damage on the strong horse, the United States. And yet they still try to inflict their nihilistic, anti-liberty, and yes, anti-Christian so-called philosophy on us. Well, quite a few of us read history, ours, and the history of (especially) the west, and we can see what has driven our civilization. It was driven to heights never before glimpsed by man by the role of the individual, first espoused by the jews of the Old Testament, and brought higher still by Judaism’s daughter: Christianity.

When one looks at the U.S. Constitution, one finds very learned men writing a document, to build a document to minimize the role of what has (for 2000 years) been called ‘original Sin’. If you don’t understand the term; you would be wise to blame it on those who taught you your life lessons, in the schools, and yes, often in our churches as well. That those who hate freedom, don’t teach the underpinnings of freedom should be no surprise.

To sum up, perhaps we should turn to a great Briton, one who understood America perhaps better than Americans do: Margaret Thatcher, who once said this:

In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
― Margaret Thatcher

Was she talking about the ancient Athenians, or about us?

Here’s Andrew:

Watching Obama’s speech Sunday night, it occurred to me that we are watching the death of a bad idea. The idea that there is no moral truth — and that therefore no one culture is better than any other — and that therefore any dominant culture must have become dominant through injustice — and that therefore the dominant west is to blame for the rest of the world’s ills — follows from a certain strain of western thought, call it the Nietzschean strain. It is incorrect and it has failed and now it’s crumbling.

Under the duress of mounting evidence, the president was forced to abandon his euphemisms and denials, to admit that we were under attack from terrorists, and that the ideas and motivations of those terrorists arose from Islam. To be sure, there were the usual hemmings and hawings, but the very fact that he was forced to drop these few little crumbs of truth to a populace hungry for moral leadership is proof that his underlying philosophy — the underlying philosophy of his administration and of his political party — is in ruins.

This doesn’t mean Obama will abandon that philosophy. He can’t. It has given him everything he has. It’s the reason he was promoted so far above his competence, the reason he was elevated to a power he does not have the first idea how to use effectively. Rather than abandon that source of his strength, he will continue to do what he has done up to now: engage in dubious battle with make-believe enemies like the climate while appeasing and hiding from real enemies like the makers of worldwide jihad. […]

Source: The Death of a Bad Idea | PJ Media. There’s more, it just as good. Go there now, read and understand I’ll wait over here.

As always, when Donald Trump came up, his followers displayed his glass jaw, I’ve never had much respect for a man who likes to dish it out, but can’t take it, and so it is here. Maggie understood quite well:

If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing. ”
― Margaret Thatcher

So said someone who won a war halfway around the world without recourse to bankruptcy, lawsuits, or the overbearing and inappropriate use of eminent domain, not even making personal attacks on Twitter.

A famous half-American said this, perhaps we should try a bit sooner!

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

– Winston Churchill

The Constitution Is Not Incidental

signing-constitutionLast Monday Ben Domenech, the publisher and founder of The Federalist published an article of his own that you need to read. It dealt with why there is such a disparity between what are ‘elites’ think, say, and do and what the rest of us know in our bones. In many ways, it sums up what we’ve been writing about this week, and in truth for the three and a half years of this blog’s existence. Here’s some of it, but do follow the link below.

[…] The problem is that the elite modern left thinks all these things which are essential to the American experience are just incidental. They see no connection between Constitutional freedoms and the character of the people; between religious liberty and church attendance and family breakdown; between gun ownership and self-reliance and respect for property; between crushing free speech and destroying our capacity for free thought and creativity; between the loss of American stoicism and the all-encompassing welfare state. They see these originating factors as irritants or unimportant, and think they can all be gotten rid of without fundamentally altering the nature of who we are as a nation.

The liberal elites do this in part because such things are incidental to their own daily lives. Casting aside the Bill of Rights won’t fundamentally change who they are, at least not in any near term. […]

The first priority of the United States government and the president is to secure our liberties – it always has been, and always ought to be.

There is one other point President Obama made – that as commander in chief, he has no greater responsibility than the security of the American people. It is the sort of thing lots of presidents have said. It also happens to be false. […] The first priority of the United States government and the president is to secure our liberties – it always has been, and always ought to be.

Elite liberals like Obama and the New York Times editorialists do not understand that when they argue the American citizenry no longer has the capacity to bear arms, they are arguing that we have lost the capacity for self-government. They are not just saying you only have the right to self-defense as the Attorney General deems you fit; they are saying the inalienable rights of American individuals are subordinate to the will of high-minded politicians. Their interest is in keeping you safe and secure. Whether you are free is, in the grand scheme of things, incidental.

Source: The Constitution Is Not Incidental

For those of us who are Christian, the US Constitution is what happens when a government is designed to be implemented by men, who are subject to Original Sin.

If you wish to know why Donald Trump is doing so well, there are only two reasons. For all his inconsistency, flip-flopping and all, he seems to understand what Ben, and the rest of us think about these things, and he is not afraid to say so out loud. He’s decidedly not my candidate, he espouses many things that I detest (his immigration policy, as it relates to aliens, is not amongst them), but he states his case loudly (and brashly) and he has moved the debate. For now, God Bless him.

None of this is new, a hundred years ago, Rudyard Kipling told us all we need to know.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

As to what is likely to happen, well, he covered that too

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will
be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for
share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little
handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice
right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes
on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon
alone.

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your
Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole
brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained
serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise,
you will yield.

No wonder the left has driven him from the academy, and tried to supress him!

Of Tar and Feathers, and Smoothbore Muskets

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was out in San Bernadino the other day, and he has some things to say.

He’ll get no argument from me on any of that since it’s simple common sense. But since he’s being Nebraska nice, there’s more to it than that. Because the Islamic Jihadis aren’t the only ones who dislike our freedom. Kevin D. Williamson writing at the National Review had this to say.

There are many popular demons in American public life: Barack Obama and his monarchical pretensions, Valerie Jarrett and her two-bit Svengali act, or, if your tastes run in the other direction, the Koch brothers, the NRA, the scheming behind-the-scenes influences of Big Whatever. But take a moment to doff your hat to the long, energetic, and wide-ranging careers of three of our most enduring bad guys: laziness, corruption, and stupidity, which deserve special recognition for their role in the recent debates over gun control, terrorism, and crime. The Democratic party’s dramatic slide into naked authoritarianism — voting in the Senate to repeal the First Amendment, trying to lock up governors for vetoing legislation, and seeking to jail political opponents for holding unpopular views on global warming, etc. — has been both worrisome and dramatic. The Democrats even have a new position on the ancient civil-rights issue of due process, and that position is: “F— you.” The Bill of Rights guarantees Americans (like it or not) the right to keep and bear arms; it also reiterates the legal doctrine of some centuries standing that government may not deprive citizens of their rights without due process. In the case of gun rights, that generally means one of two things: the legal process by which one is convicted of a felony or the legal process by which one is declared mentally incompetent, usually as a prelude to involuntary commitment into a mental facility. The no-fly list and the terrorism watch list contain no such due process. Some bureaucrat somewhere in the executive branch puts a name onto a list, and that’s that. The ACLU has rightly called this “Kafkaesque.” […]

Why do we put all the T. Kennedys on the list instead of the actual sack of it we’re interested in? Because running that information down and systematizing it is hard work. Reviewing that information is a lot of work, too, which is why our friend Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard and Fox News ended up on the terrorist watch list. (Amusingly, he found himself being subjected to heightened scrutiny by a dedicated cable-news viewer who instantly recognized him.) That’s all the stuff of good stories for a Stephen Hayes or a Ted Kennedy, but if you’re a bodega operator in the Bronx without connections and resources, you’re pretty well hosed. […]

The Democrats and their intellectually corrupt apologists at the New York Times and elsewhere are willing to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, to micturate from a great height upon the entire concept of due process, and to treat all of us like criminals — while doing precisely nothing to prevent school shootings, terrorism, or ordinary crime — because they don’t have the guts to tell their political clients in the schools, the mental-health bureaucracies, and the criminal-justice system that eventually they are going to have to do their goddamned jobs in exchange for the hundreds of billions of dollars we lavish upon them.

Do read it all at: Gun-control-debate-government-laziness-stupidity-corruption.

Charles C. W. Cooke adds this, and, boy howdy, do I agree with him.

Traditionally, we have used an old-fashioned tool to sort out who deserves to be punished and who does not: It’s called “the justice system.” If, as the watch list’s proponents insist, there are people among us who are too dangerous to remain at liberty, then those people must be arrested, charged, and tried tout de suite. Until that happens, they must be left the hell alone, lest the pitchforks and smoothbores that subdued the last set of usurpers start to twitch and grow restless in their retirement..

Source: Terrorism-gun-control-advocates-use-fear.


Frankly, it didn’t work out well for the lobsterbacks, and I see no reason to think the leftists are any more capable than say, Lord Cornwallis.

But for plain common sense on the subject, where it matters, let’s go back to Senator Sasse

 

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve a fairly serious Thanksgiving post up at AATW, so here let’s just relax. You know these guys, we’ve loved them most of our lives.

 

Conservatism’s Essential Element Is Experience

This is really well thought through, and it highlights something that is important. Conservatism, especially the American kind, is based on doing things that work. It is a supremely practical matter, informed by history, which is perhaps why the progressives do their best to pervert and suppress history itself.

I’m going to extract the main points, but their justification and the reasoning is in the linked article

Ultimately, if one is to understand conservatism, one must begin with its essential element: not the mind, the heart, nor the soul, but experience.


 Yet, also unlike so many of its competitors in the world of political ideas, American conservatism remains a philosophy, not an ideology—a way of looking at the world and making decisions in it, rather than a rigid set of prescriptive commands. While American conservatism draws from a variety of sources, it is ultimately about drawing on the wisdom of the human experience of the largest possible number of people over the longest possible period of time.

In many ways, that informs not only our politics, but how we do our jobs, our lifestyle, 9our religious beliefs (if any), everything we believe and do, in fact.

The Mind

Some argue that the core of conservatism is the intellect, the use of reason. These tend, by and large, to be the economic conservatives, doing constant battle with the Left’s efforts to repeal the laws of economic reality in the name of “equality” or “fairness.” Or the legal conservatives, struggling to hold the line for the consistent application of the rule of law in the face of appeals to “progress,” “empathy,” or a “living Constitution.” (The economic-analysis-of-law movement sits neatly at the intersection of both). Or, at times, the national security hawks, arguing for more cold-eyed realism and fewer appeals to the self-abnegating moral vanities of the moment.

Reason is critically important, but reason alone will indeed lead one far astray, as can be seen from many examples in the world around us.

The Heart

The failings of intellectuals give rise to the opposite argument: that the weakness of liberal-progressivism, which conservatives must remedy, is precisely that it is a sterile intellectual creed, reducing man to his wants and his biological imperatives and neglecting what really animates the human animal: pride, anger, fear, and love of family and country and all that is dear and familiar.

[…] Students of patriotism know that men will fight for their homes in ways that they would never fight for international abstractions. Students of culture will tell you that all the studies and programs in the world are no substitute for what a man will do for his family if government stops trying to substitute itself for his role. Critics of abortion will tell you that the cold utilitarianism of the “pro-choice” movement and its clinical approach to the most powerful emotional force known to humanity—a mother’s love for her child—leaves women who make that fatal choice with an emotional wound they may never entirely salve. Critics of big government argue that central planning and the rule of experts is doomed to grief because it passes the point where a man is willing to be nagged.

You know all this instinctively, you will fight much harder to defend your family than for much of anything else, but most of us also know that this can lead us even farther astray than overreliance on reason.

The Soul

A further school of thought is that the core dividing line between conservatives and liberals is faith. Mind and heart alike may be powerful tools, but they can only be properly guided by an informed conscience, which is a gift from God.

For me, this is simply a given, although some others see it differently

Experience

Reason, emotion, and faith are all important. But the crucial and distinctive element of conservatism is experience. There’s a reason why people in general tend to grow more conservative as they age: partly because they have more responsibilities and pay more taxes, yes, but also because they have seen more of life. That process is only a microcosm of the broader conservative belief in tradition: not tradition as nostalgia or fear of the unknown, but rather tradition as the proving ground of human experience, the ultimate laboratory of humanity. Experience, as the saying goes, is the school of mankind, and he will learn at no other.

Translating Experience Into Policy

The conservative preference for reliance on life experience manifests itself, procedurally, in four major ways: a preference for democracy and the rule of written law over rule by judges and other “experts”; a preference for free markets over centralized planning; a preference for federalism and deliberative democracy over one-size-fits-all centralized government, direct democracy and pure majoritarianism; and respect for tradition in all things.

In many ways, it comes down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

When coupled with the separation of powers, democratic governments are also, whatever their periodic failings in this regard, less likely to make dramatic changes generally and specifically less apt to toss away long-recognized rights of the citizen and long-established forms of common sense. As George Orwell wrote in explaining the deficiency of government by so-called experts:

The immediate cause of the German defeat was the unheard-of folly of attacking the U.S.S.R. while Britain was still undefeated and America was manifestly getting ready to fight. Mistakes of this magnitude can only be made, or at any rate they are most likely to be made, in countries where public opinion has no power. So long as the common man can get a hearing, such elementary rules as not fighting all your enemies simultaneously are less likely to be violated.

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.’ […]

At the end of the day, what makes conservatism both distinct and viable is not the castles it builds in the air, but the roots that hold it deep in the ground. The essential element of conservatism is that by learning from experience and tradition, it reflects the world as it really is.

Source: Conservatism’s Essential Element Is Experience

I agree

RINO-plasty

signing-constitutionI’m just going to give you a taste of this. The article is fairly long, it’s also of a piece, and not susceptible of abstracting. (At least by me!)

The GOP needs more than cosmetic surgery. It’s either showing signs of great health or is in crisis, or perhaps a little of both. The party controls both houses of Congress and is hitting historic highs in governorships and state legislatures. An array of bright, young, plausible Republican Presidents campaigns for the Oval Office—a far cry. Read More

It’s important to note that the party would be in much worse shape than it otherwise would be  without the Tea Party. And that’s even taking into account that the disgruntled insurgents have cost the GOP some winnable elections, most notably by blocking the Senate candidacy of former Representative and Governor Michael Castle in Delaware. (GOP insiders also conveniently blame non-Tea Party losses on the Tea Party—Todd Aiken, for example, was not a Tea Party guy.) Establishment figures don’t have the greatest record, otherwise we would have Senator Tommy Thompson, and a re-elected Connie Mack and George Allen.

Meanwhile, as Ben Domenech notes, the Tea Party has, in fact, begun to redirect the GOP, even if most Tea Party people express frustration at not accomplishing more. (Granted, his comments on the budget deal might qualify that judgment.) The most recent debate might indicate that a majority of Republicans are starting to understand that our elite media are, as Glenn Reynolds says, “Democratic operatives with bylines,” and Republicans should treat them as such.

Source: RINO-plasty – Online Library of Law & Liberty

That great quote from James Madison is also in there. You know: this one

This disproportionate increase of prerogative and patronage must, evidently . . . [foster] the transformation of the republican system of the United States into a monarchy,  . . .whether it would be into a mixed or an absolute monarchy might depend on too many contingencies to admit of any certain foresight.

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