Where Do We Go From Here?
Part I: Defining the Terms
America can't be fixed. Having declined to its current irreparable condition long before Obama was elected, it won't be saved by either the 2014 mid-terms or the 2016 presidential contest even if they prove to be fair and free elections which is not likely. Republicans don't abandon their conservatism once they breathe in the rarefied atmosphere of DC; most of them have no conservative principles to begin with. And as Thomas Fleming of Chronicles Magazine, among others, has suggested, if the Democrats are the evil party, the GOP is the stupid party.
It isn't that the Democrats are really smart. While they presume that conservatives are hateful morons, Democrats in the main are themselves lacking in rudimentary knowledge of virtually every subject. Even Yankee Ivy League-schooled leftist elites are only a little more knowledgeable than the unread and entitled masses who vote Democrat. And neither is it that the Republican is really stupid; he is far more educated than the average Democrat. Republican leaders in DC, however, appear to be inept bunglers constantly outfoxed by slick liberal propagandists. They waste time raging against liberal lying and voter fraud—this is no more productive than chastising a rattlesnake for biting.
By definition a liberal is a relativist, and, for him, there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, just what the liberal-relativist wants to do. Add to this mix the fact that in a real sense the rank and file Republicans are predominantly liberals themselves: They want smaller big government, but they, in the end, still want big government. They think that Hannity, Rush...and Paul Ryan... are conservatives. WMAL talk show host Chris Plante's listening audience in the Virginia- Maryland-DC metro area will tell you that Plante is the standard bearer for conservatism. But neither he nor the sundry cliché-spouting “luminaries” who appear on Fox News are remotely conservative, and they don't have the answers for a hopelessly broken America.
The liberal-conservative dichotomy and the fights it engenders provide a distraction from what really is at stake as America implodes. But in order to begin to make the case for any argument, terms have to be defined. Since the term most misunderstood and misused today is conservative, here briefly are a few examples of the way a true conservative, more correctly a paleoconservative or constitutionalist, thinks:
A federative system where the central government has attenuated powers best protects liberty. This limited federal government does not run daycare centers; it doesn't provide for the poor, the elderly or the disabled. This will seem harsh to those who confuse sentimentality with true Christian love and who do not understand the principle of subsidiarity. Individuals, families, churches, communities, counties and even states are responsible for charitable works, not the federal government. But the real burden falls on the individual; if he does not feed the hungry and clothe the naked, he will answer to God. Even some “conservatives” say that it is naive to believe that, people, absent the arm-twisting of the feds, will help others. Yes, freedom is messy and imperfect, but it is far less bloody and murderous than some statist “utopia.”
The federal government must confine itself to providing for the common defence, delivering the mail, making treaties and regulating genuine interstate commerce (this does not include creating a single payer national health care behemoth). Extending the hand of friendship to all nations, the central government should not engage in global interventionism for the purpose of spreading democracy. (In fact, democracy is not desirable because it is little more than mob rule. Rule by a concurrent majority of the states ensures that minority interests are better served.) If a sovereign country, however, is attacked, or has real evidence of an imminent hostile move against its people, it is obligated to respond with deadly force.
Concerning behaviour in the public square, here are some examples of real conservative thinking: If Mayor Bloomberg of New York, for example, wants to ban large carbonated drinks, and the people of that city like the idea, that is their business. They can throw Bloomberg out of office if they don't like his over-regulation.
Local police, the lesser magistrates, have every right to arrest the members of the Westboro Baptist Church when they scream the vilest of invectives at military funeral mourners. The Supreme Court overstepped its authority when it became involved in this situation eventually ruling that the Westboro Church could continue its protests because of the group's First Amendment rights. The First Amendment, however, only protects political speech directed against the federal government. It protects the right to criticise that government, not some right to disturb the peace as people bury their dead.
If Washington State wants to legalise marijuana, that is up to the people of that state. Further, if the people of a sovereign state wish to establish atheism as their official “religion,” they have a right to do so. A Christian living in a state that wants to outlaw God has the right-actually the obligation- to fight such legislation tooth and nail. But if his “side” loses, he can vote with his feet as they say. ( Many Marylanders are doing just that as Maryland becomes more and more secularist.) On the other hand, a state also has the right to establish a Christian faith or Judaism as its official religion. The First Amendment only prevents the federal government from involving itself in religious issues. It must leave the states alone in this respect no matter what the ACLU thinks.
These truly conservative stands will only seem extreme to liberals and most Republicans because they are ignorant of history and constitutionalities. False conservatives with bated breath hang on every decision of the Supreme Court and pray that the right will prevail instead of railing as they should against federal judicial tyranny. It is OK they reason for the Supreme Court to reign over us all as long as SCOTUS tells the Westboro Baptist Church to behave itself, as long as it outlaws abortion and gay marriages. This is not to say, however, that the paleoconservative himself condones abortion and gay marriage. Concerning the former, he believes that the abortion issue should be resolved at the state, or even county level, not at the federal level. And he believes that it is his God-given obligation to fight against legal infanticide. There is only an apparent contradiction here to those who are comfortable with the nationalist state America has become. I am compelled to add that a moral people will make moral laws that conform to God's laws; they will not wish to legalise that which is immoral.
These distinctions are not made on Fox News or talk radio. And right wingers and neo-cons, who would destroy their own country to defend Israel, will only allow acceptable “conservative “ views to be expressed. Rush will hit the kill button in a New York minute if a Lincoln hater calls in. Lincoln was a despot, but Rush and Plante and their ilk worship him. And they will employ the same tired debating tricks used by the liberals – name calling, begging the question, knocking down straw men, etc. They wish to stifle dissent on the part of those they view as crazy, read paleoconservative. Maybe it's time to turn off the radio. Or the TV...which is what I did after Andrea Tantaros on Fox News' The Five suggested that everyone go see “Lincoln” the movie because Honest Abe, the Republican, freed the slaves, something, I might add, England and France managed without the slaughter of 600,000 of their countrymen. In reality Lincoln's regime made slaves of us all. With conservatives like Tantaros who needs liberals?
To be continued...