Can Grown-Ups Save Conservatism? A Preface

downloadConsidering what has happened to conservatism, and conservatives, politically, ideologically, culturally, even morally, in the past eleven months because of the rise of Donald Trump, it may come as a surprise to you that I wrote the bulk of this article five years ago in September, 2011 when another outsider was making a run for the presidency. His name is Herman Cain.

But this has been a subject that has colored my thinking about modern conservatism, and how it defines itself, since at least the arrival of Barack Obama. After all, I’ve been on speaking terms with conservatism since Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964 (because my father admired him).

So I’m old enough to notice things.

Only this week I was drawn into a Twitter exchange with a couple of snarling pit vipers about Hillary’s well-documented shortcomings as an honest person. I assumed the two ladies were young, under 40, maybe even 30, but noticed that in every exchange they included the twitter handle of Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online. So I was unsure if they  were EverHillary’s or NeverTrumpsters. (You NeverTrumpsters should take note that without context you do sound remarkably similar.) I wanted to ferret out which side they were on, as well as fire a broadside at Goldberg, who is one of my favorite Trump-bashing targets because of his meritless elitism and irreverent deviance from what I always considered true conservatism to be. To establish that, I mentioned to the Valkyries that I met Jonah’s mom in the early 90’s, who I was introduced to by a former member of the Reagan Administration, and who, along with Bill Buckley’s brother, James, was a founder of the Conservative Party of New York.

They hung up, or whatever they call it on Twitter.

A recurring problem  exists on the Right of allowing pride and vanity to over-shadow the fight against the Left reminding me that pride always heralds a coming fall (Prov 16:18), a fall Ameruica can little afford.

We need to distinguish conservatism culturally from the Left, and our youngsters seem not equipped to do it.

American culture must trump politics.

                                                                               *  *  *  *  *  *

Used to be, by the time you were 30 you were grown-up and by the time you were 40, you were entering middle age, considered then a man’s prime. Those were to be our best years, where maturity and experience combined to mold a man equipped to achieve at his highest level, his station in life built on the respect he had earned from his peers.

When I was growing up, that was the place I wanted to get to. Like Rush Limbaugh, I couldn’t wait to be grown-up. In my time (I’m five years older than Rush) almost all our heroes and role models were grown-ups. From Washington to Jefferson to Neil Armstrong to John Wayne, everyone looked up to them. We picked our film stars from men we wanted to be like in some way.

We didn’t so much want to be like them as to be respected as they were respected.

I couldn’t wait to outgrow the assumption that I carried the same sort of  self-absorption that had tagged my generation. I assumed everyone looked at me like I didn’t know a thing (which I didn’t) and knowing I’d never done a thing worth mentioning (which I hadn’t).

To be a grown-up you had to have a resume in life and experience, not just semester hours, so I went about making one. At 30 I was a captain in the Army. By 40 I was in senior management in a Fortune 500 manufacturing company, followed by 25 years in the old Soviet World. And while I write these days I only watched and listened in those days. I was boots-on-the-ground for over 50 of my years.

These are still required habits necessary to moving about in the world of the grown-up.

And that’s the thing, I think. Like the author, I write now, but until I was in my late 50s, I didn’t, I went, I did, and I found out what worked. What worked in practical electrical work, in leading men, in assembling teams, in life, and yes, in religion as well. Unlike him, I didn’t have the advantage of being a military officer, although I somehow absorbed much of the ethos, probably through reading history.

When I was a child, I hungered and thirsted most for the respect of adults, to be given the responsibility to keep the yard mowed, (regardless of my hay fever) all five acres of woodland, to have a responsible job. Yes, I started working for dad when I was 13, as an assistant staking engineer, planning new power lines, as well as wiring my first building on my own.

Most of my friends were farmers kids, and were much the same, they were working from the time they could run a shovel and/or a tractor. Most of us loved it, it meant we were being treated like an adult, finally, and it was something we had earned. It wasn’t given to us.

The real lessons were the timeless ones of how adults did things, how they thought, and how to overcome difficulties rather than whingeing about them.

The Baby Boom Infarction

But I was a Baby-Boomer, and among us arose a cult of youth which has consumed each succeeding generation since. It may yet be the death of us all.

Now, there are dozens of ingredients that go into becoming “grown-up,” but I will dwell on only one or two here, as they have a bearing on the future of conservatism  (and America). In short, the youth culture that arose out of my generation contained some sociological ingredients that prevented them from ever growing-up in the cultural sense, regardless of biological age, and these ingredients severed the best from the brightest.

via Can Grown-Ups Save Conservatism? A Preface « Sago Read the whole thing™

At thirteen, most of us understood this completely

 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:

but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Would that all of our contemporaries, conservative and liberal, American, British, or anybody else, had our advantage, for truly we learned this is the price of adulthood.

Britain must reconnect with its Christian roots to heal post-referendum divisions

Out brexitFrancis Phillips wrote today in The Catholic Herald a most interesting article, and yes, I know her slightly, and like her, from Jess’ site (and a few others). She’s an eminently sensible person and a very nice one. She may be, alone of my British friends, the lone supporter of Brexit, which isn’t as surprising as it sounds, my friends tend to be of the establishment, and quite highly educated, which are the two of the areas that Remain drew its strength. Luckily for me, they tend to be more tolerant of dissent than the actual left there, or here, as well as very good friends, indeed. I agree with Francis that Britain (and America, for that matter) need to get back to our Christian roots, but that isn’t what I found so interesting. here’s some of her article.

St John Paul II once pleaded with the EU to recognise its Christian traditions, but unfortunately his appeal fell on deaf ears

I was going to start this blog with a cliché like, “Now that the dust has settled on the referendum vote to leave the EU”, but then it struck me that the dust hasn’t settled at all. As anyone who read my blog for last Thursday will know, I voted for Brexit. This brought divisions within the family: one son actively campaigned to leave; one daughter voted to remain (while her husband, from Northern Ireland, voted to leave); another son-in-law, who is from an EU country, now feels he is unwelcome in the UK. My youngest daughter’s carer, who is in her 40s, has voted for the first time in her life: for Brexit. And so on.

Living in a village in Buckinghamshire I did a small bit of leafleting for Brexit on a former council estate across the road. Four out of five people made it clear to me that they were fed up with Brussels; “We want to have our country back” was their view – not so different from the highly educated Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. I only met one dissenting voice, an annoying lady who, whenever I tried to put a statement of fact to her, such as “When we joined the Common Market in 1973 we saw it simply a trade agreement”, or “The euro has been very bad for Greece”, glibly replied, “That’s your opinion”. You can’t argue with people like that.

It is a slur from the disappointed Remain camp to infer that those who voted for Brexit are “racist”. One of the keenest people who worked for my son’s campaign in a London borough was an 18-year-old Pakistani youth, the son of immigrants, who believes passionately in our country’s sovereignty. Three French people, two Italians and a Pole also helped him spread the Brexit message. Yet the members of my Book Club – middle-class, older women graduates and Guardian readers – all voted to remain, apart from me. So it is a complicated picture and it will take time, generosity and tolerance for the deep divisions in the country that the Referendum has opened up to be healed.

As Charles Moore wrote in the Telegraph on Saturday, “Democratic self-government – parliamentary democracy – is what the modern British nation is founded on… It was slipping away from us. Now we have reclaimed it.”

via Britain must reconnect with its Christian roots to heal post-referendum divisions – CatholicHerald.co.uk

I think that may be a key thing with the vote. It seemed to me that many people let their education, or their economic interests override the very fact that control of their government was slipping away. In fact, one of my friends, who is both Headmistress of a girl’s school and trustafarian, told me that she was voting based on the advice of her financial advisor. One can’t really argue with that reasoning, if they don’t have the basis that we’re arguing from. And that is why, I think, that so many American

And that is why, I think, that so many American conservatives were so overjoyed at the results. We saw what maybe the British were too close to see, that Britain was quickly becoming a province of (nondemocratic) Europe, rather than the force of nature and freedom that produced the modern world, and America as well.

There is a lot of commentary that many voters were ill-informed, and it may be so, but what I saw here was Britain, and yes, especially England, reclaiming its heritage, and its government. That goes far deeper than the issues, it goes to the heart of what many Americans and Britons proclaimed on Friday, Independence Day, the British 4th of July. And in dealing with the Brexiteers, reading and commenting, I loudly claim that I saw very little racism, xenophobia, or little Englandism, I saw people who wanted what conservatives always want, to save the good and change the bad going always forward. As the Speccie said, “Out, and into the world.”

Yesterday, we quoted Christopher Monckton of Brenchley who said,

The people have spoken. And the democratic spirit that inspired just over half the people of Britain to vote for national independence has its roots in the passionate devotion of the Founding Fathers of the United States to democracy. Our former colony showed us the way. Today, then, an even more heartfelt than usual “God bless America!”

We pray God that it will be so. We also agree with that famous quote of William Pitt the Younger from about 200 years ago.

“England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”

Still again.

Unalienable Rights

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesDanmillerinPanama wrote an excellent article yesterday called Freedom of Speech is not Free; it is Beyond Price. In it, he highlights the fact that

When Roberson’s unit commander discovered that Rodriguez would be delivering the flag-folding speech, which mentions “God,” during the ceremony, he attempted to prevent Rodriguez from attending. After learning that he lacked authority to prevent Rodriguez from attending, the commander then told Roberson that Rodriguez could not give the speech. Rodriguez asked Roberson what he should do, and Roberson responded that it was his personal desire that Rodriguez give the flag-folding speech as planned. . . .

My instant reaction to this sort of nonsense is to wonder what part of the Air Force mission it is to police speech, and if it might be better to use its time to defend America, rather than attack Air Force personnel.

But as Dan and I have both said many times, the founders had a few things to say on the subject, as well. Like this.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Emphasis mine. That seems like pretty clear language, after all. Hard for even a lawyer to turn Congress shall make no law into the Air Force may suppress any mention of God. Not that they can’t manage it, they just can’t justify it to anybody who understands that 2+2=4.

But there is something else here as well. The construction of the amendments is also important. Congress shall make no law…tells us several things, protecting free speech was important enough to be mentioned in our foundational law, the Constitution is a good start, but it is only the beginning.

But the wording says Congress can’t infringe it, it does not say Congress shall grant all Americans the right of Free Speech. Madison wrote it that way for a reason, free speech is a right that inheres each and every person, from God most of us believe, or nature or whatever, but it is not the state’s to grant, nor is it the state’s to refuse. This goes back to Jefferson in American practice with this

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …

Jefferson likely drew this formulation from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government.

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions… (and) when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

There’s considerably more of this, and better than my writing on it at Unalienable Rights, by Robert Curry at Claremont.

To get to the correct answer to this question, we need to remember what the Constitution does. It defines how the federal government is to function—and the very purpose of government, according to the Founders, is to secure our unalienable rights. Consequently, unalienable rights are senior to, on a higher level than, even the Constitution itself. The sequence in logic goes like this:

• Unalienable Rights first
• Then the Constitution: the Framers’ (brilliant) design for a government to fulfill the purpose of government by securing our unalienable rights.

The Constitution is all about defining and dispersing the powers of government. It is fundamentally a design for limiting the government, limiting it precisely in order to secure our unalienable rights from people in government who would try to violate our rights. As Jefferson said, “let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

And frankly in not understanding this very point is where all of Europe, increasingly including Great Britain, has gone wrong. Because it’s common sense that what the government gives, the government can take away, and in many cases, free speech is one of the things that government really likes to take away. It’s so important, that Madison put it right at the top of the list, because if we can’t speak of things, we can’t affect them either.

How important is the American example in helping freedom to flourish around the world?

Well, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley recently wrote this:

“Your Majesty, with my humble duty, I was born in a democracy; I do not live in one; but I am determined to die in one.”

And now I shall die in one. In the words of William Pitt the Younger after the defeat of Napoleon, “England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”

The people have spoken. And the democratic spirit that inspired just over half the people of Britain to vote for national independence has its roots in the passionate devotion of the Founding Fathers of the United States to democracy. Our former colony showed us the way. Today, then, an even more heartfelt than usual “God bless America!”

 

Updated because I forgot to link Monckton speech. You’ll find it here.

And the last Word, for our British Friends and Cousins.

Out brexit

This was Tweeted by Elizabeth Hurley, and I’m inclined to give it credence. http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/1500000/Elizabeth-elizabeth-hurley-1548027-1024-768.jpg

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

We’ve talked here about all the reasons you should vote leave, and I will not rehash them, yet again. But Thomas Paine was speaking to you, even as he was us, back on 23 December 1776 when he wrote this:

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

And mind you, that is exactly what is at stake in this referendum, the heritage you built (and passed on to us) of a free people in a free land. Great Britain or Britannia as the Romans called it. A mere outpost of a nondemocratic empire.

Soon we will know what you have decided, we Americans, like your own writers have told you what we see, and what we think you should do. But, as it should be, it is up to you, the people of Great Britain, especially England, which will decide the issue. Vote as you think right.

But we will always remember the Great Britain that inspired us, and fought by our side throughout the last century, with awe and thanks, and we will always remember that your bequest to us was our freedom, and power, and ability to mostly do the right thing. You know, this Great Britain.

You may choose, of course, the temporary safety of the German Zollverein, that is your privilege, but the world needs Great Britain to help lead it to ‘the broad sunlit uplands’, of freedom and peace, and so do we.

And so, as Charles James Fox during the Revolution wore the buff and blue of the Continental Army into Parliament, today I shall be wearing, the Union Jack in my lapel.

I Tweeted this morning a comment from The Conservative Woman because it says it all, and besides, there is nothing little about England, it’s freedom and language is the aspiration of the entire world.

 

 

Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief. Uber is on its way to amassing $15 billion in real cash since starting in 2009. Its valuation on paper is $68 billion. Credit Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

This is interesting, and a chase of pace. Apparently Uber is sitting on a pile of cash and borrowing more. I don’t know enough here to even have an opinion, but it tends to fascinate me. Here, read the whole thing.™:

It feels like almost every other week there is a new headline about Uber raising more money. “Uber Closes $1.6 Billion in Financing.’’ “Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5 Billion Cash Infusion.’’ Last week, we got this one: “Uber to Raise Up to $2 Billion in Leveraged-Loan Market.’’

If you add up all the money Uber has raised since it started in 2009 — the idea was born when its founders became annoyed that they could not get a cab in Paris — the ride-hailing app company is on its way to amassing a colossal $15 billion. That’s real cash, not some funny-money, paper-based valuation. (That figure is $68 billion.) It has done all this while still managing to remain a private company, and its chief executive,Travis Kalanick, has insisted that a public offering is not coming soon. “I’m going to make sure it happens as late as possible,” he has repeatedly said.

Consider this: When Amazon went public in 1997, it raised $54 million and was valued at $438 million.

So what exactly is Uber doing with all that money? And what does it say about Uber — and the financial markets — that the company has turned most recently to selling the equivalent of junk bonds?

Yes, Uber has to finance an all-out war to gain market share in China and India. But there is more to it than that: Uber’s money-grab is seemingly part of an unspoken strategy to mark its territory.

Every time Uber raises another $1 billion, venture capital investors and others may find it less attractive to back one of Uber’s many rivals: Didi Chuxing, Lyft, Gett, Halo, Juno. In other words, Uber’s fund-raising efforts have seemingly become part of the contest: It’s not just a rivalry over customers and drivers; it’s a war of attrition, a mad scramble to starve the competition of cash.

At the moment, Uber’s success has had the opposite effect: It has spawned a long list of rivals, big and little guys who say, “We can do it too.” But over time, as the smaller competitors run out of cash — after heavily subsidizing riders in an effort to steal business from Uber — venture capitalists should be less inclined to put up even more cash to go up against Fortress Uber.

via Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions – The New York Times

Like I said could be. But at the very end, the author makes a silly mistake. He forgets, if he ever knew, that there are no monopolies in nature (or free markets), somebody will always compete, usually better. The only way a monopoly exists is when it enforced by strong arm tactics, either of the players or the government.

Just ask the US carmakers, back in the 50s and 60s they could sell us any piece of overpriced junk they wanted to, no matter how shoddily manufactured. What happened? Volkswagen and Toyota. The Brits were at least as bad, so we’ll finish with Jeremy Clarkson on how they killed their auto industry.

We got a little luckier, we made it worthwhile for foreign makers to build plants here, and they did, in states that had never (for the most part) built cars or been unionized, and that’s why so many cars with funny names actually are American made, sometimes with American parts. And those workers have gained a reputation as the best in the world. Something that no one who ever dealt with the UAW ever said.

 

Hullo, Mummy. Welcome to the Revolution!

World US

How Americans see Europe

Over here, we’ve long viewed the United Kindom as the mother country. After all, we based our freedom on English practice, as we did our law, our trade practices, and even our treatment of each other. In fact, that was so strong that our founders referred to the Revolution, not the rebellion. That is because we were completing the revolution, restoring our rights as Englishmen, not rebelling against lawful authority. That is most of the reason that after the unpleasantness in 1812-1815, it became pretty easy for us to resume our friendship.

And you know, the revolution is completing yet again, as the United Kingdom itself finds itself in exactly the same position as we did 240 years ago, being ruled by another power, without representation, in their case, Brussels and the European Union. Mark Twain said history rhymes, but this is almost as close as history ever comes to repeating.

Robert Tracinski over at The Federalist has also noticed this phenomenon:

[Recently at Colonial Williamsburg] Oh yes, and we also got together in a mob outside Raleigh Tavern and hanged Lord North in effigy. […] Most of you, I suspect, will not know who Lord North was or why we were (symbolically) hanging him. But it’s entirely relevant today.

w1056 (1)Lord North was His Majesty’s Prime Minister during the crucial years of the American Revolution, from 1770 to 1782. The specific infractions for which he was subjected to mock trial and hanging in effigy were the Intolerable Acts, a series of punitive measures against Boston that were widely interpreted as a declaration of war against colonial America.

Today, we tend to think of the American Revolution as a war against King George III. But it was just as much a war against the British Parliament and its leadership, which was increasingly regarded by Americans as a “foreign” body that did not represent them. We already had our own, long-established legislatures (Virginia’s General Assembly, for example, will soon celebrate its 400th anniversary and is one of the oldest in the world), and we considered them to be our proper representatives, solely authorized to approve legislation on our behalf.

[and] The key issue — the breaking point — is the European Union’s practice of seeking to validate its authority through popular referendums then ignoring them when they don’t get the result they wanted.

The EU crossed a fatal line when it smuggled through the Treaty of Lisbon, by executive cabal, after the text had already been rejected by French and Dutch voters in its earlier guise. It is one thing to advance the Project by stealth and the Monnet method, it is another to call a plebiscite and then to override the outcome.

[…] And when you think of it, we were just following the British example. Britain had faced its own conflicts between the authority of Parliament and the overreaching ambitions of its kings, and they had already set the example of removing the king to preserve the power of Parliament. Before we did it in the 18th century, they did it in the 17th century — twice. Britain itself had established the precedents of the rule of law and the consent of the governed. I don’t know why they would want to throw that away now.

via Brexit: Welcome, Britain, To Our Revolution

You know he is exactly right. We took those (God-given) rights that the English had taken back for themselves, and enforced that they could not be removed from the people, as the English had done over the centuries. That is really how the Amerexit from the first empire came about. Now it’s up to the British to take back Britain for themselves, with Brexit. If you think you need justification, how about John Locke, who said this:

The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative[,] being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

He was hardly alone, he was supported in Parliament (the only time it happened) by both William Pitt the Elder, and Charles James Fox, who took to wearing the blue and buff of the Continental Army in Parliament itself.

John Adams chimed in with this:

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

Yes, we’ve talked about this before, that article is here.

One of the things that America has preserved is the written history of liberty, it is probably harder with the government in Parliament, and that problem is why our founders organized these United States as they did. We’re an originalist bunch, basing ourselves on rights hard won by Englishmen and Americans alike.

UKIP has a very cute video out as well.

Come on out, the sun is shining and there’s corn, and most of all, there’s freedom.

Something I rarely do, but I think you should also read this:

 http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/06/21/this-realm-this-england/

 

%d bloggers like this: