Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos

DREHER GOES NUTS

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By Robert L. Capehert

ROD DREHER is at it again (jeepers!) in a column written for The American Conservative, sometime before the congressional Republicans caved to the Obama White House agenda.

 In “The Strangelove Republicans,” Dreher writes,

Today I heard an update on the radio from the fiscal crisis in Washington, and thought, “The Republicans really are going to push us over the edge.” I hope I’m wrong, of course, but it becomes more thinkable with each passing hour. I thought next about how hard we’ve worked to invest wisely, and to sock money away for retirement. If the world wakes up Thursday morning plunging into a 2008-style economic collapse, we could find our investments massively damaged. Some people we know have only now built their nest eggs back up after the 2008 disaster. We could be looking at that. Or worse.

In a previous column, good man Rod Dreher insisted he was not a leftist. But when it comes to his animus toward Republicans, he argues as a leftist. His reasons for opposing Republicans seem awfully close to the same reasons leftists oppose Republican policies, and or, strategy.

First, the President of the United States does not automatically get whatever budget he desires. Congress controls the purse of the Federal Government—at least constitutionally. So, Congress can decide against funding a program if it so desires.

Secondly, the 14th Amendment requires the interest on U.S. debt be paid (first) so there was no way Republicans could have “push [us] America off a cliff. Only Barack Obama could have done that which would have been a dereliction of his duty as President of these United States.

The 2008 financial collapse was not caused by the actions that Republicans recently sought to push. I am unsure of what Dreher’s point is here.

The economic collapse of 2008 was caused by government—too much of it—not Republicans shuttering government doors in order to force a cut in entitlement spending, debt concerns, etc. If Dreher is so concerned about fiscal matters, personal and public, then one might expect graver concern over ObamaCare. Of course, the last time Dreher talked about ObamaCare he talked almost giddy about how ObamaCare was settled law.

Considering what the Democratic Party and President Obama have done thus far with their power, Dreher’s last paragraph is a construction in stupidity. Dreher does get one thing right—which is the offensive nature the Republican Party seeks to baptize the Christian religion for political purposes.

Nevertheless, it is not the Grand Old Party that has brought America to the brink, but President Obama and his radical agenda. If Dreher is serious about classical liberalism—of free markets and free minds—he ought to comprehend such notions.

And writing this below does not address serious ills to his thinking:

Yes. I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I hope the House flips to the Democrats in 2014, so we can be rid of these nuts. Let Ted Cruz sit in the Senate stewing in his precious bodily fluids, and let Washington get back to the business of governing.

Differences of opinion do exist on the American right. And they should. But not this different! Given President Obama’s record alone Dreher should sense how nuts his point happens to be.

I myself (all about I!) attack Republicans and the mainstream conservative movement. But I do so in light of obvious inconsistencies with the rather consistent intellectual history of classical liberalism.  Regardless, Republican mistakes in the past (which surely could justify bolting the party on principal) does not follow that a solution to our fiscal and governing mailse is to vote in a bunch of statist Democrats.

Insane.

Interesting! Rather than the soft tyranny of the statist left led by Obama the crank, being “nuts,” Mr Dreher fires at Republican conservatives and libertarians.

At their backs, no less.

What becomes inanity for Mr Dreher seems like the same manure  professionally unserious misfits like MSNBC routinely throw on classical liberals in U.S. government.

Dreher can opine he is not a “liberal” day and night. But it might be nice—horrors!—for the crunchy con to rid himself of temerity and actually celebrate liberalism in the classical sense, coming onboard to defend it, cheering those on whom seek and fight for its preservation.

If Dreher is serious about prudent governance he should understand there is little wisdom to be found with what the Democratic Party has become in these years. Prudence does not come from utopian schemas which entangle sovereign individuals in regulatory purgatory.

The statist agenda whether practised on the right or the left has impoverished American society. Dreher would do well to recognise that his desire for prudent and sound government will not come through those policies Barack Obama and the Democratic Party supposes.

Rather, they cripple the kind of free markets and free minds schema necessary for the good and innovative society.

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artium and moribus, From The Editorial Desk, intellego ut credam, Mr Robert Luke Capehert

LOOKING BACK CAN BE PAINFUL

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By Robert L. Capehert

At least it has been for myself.

Dave Beilstein has been at it here as resident blogger (under two different site names) since around August of 2012.

I myself came on later to add some punch to an otherwise soporific blog—or at least to add a pinch or two of profanity now and again—with lean prose intended to rankle and offend the statist mindset.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to look back at LM archives: what a depressing glance back into recent history that has been. Ugh.

Nevertheless, Beilstein was all over a Romney victory (as were many others). And whilst the little man can be forgiven, reading column after column reporting good news for Romney and bad juju for Bam-Bam Obama is still painful.

One should never relive the past all that much–besides an effort to avoid the same mistakes. Albert Einstein said something about that I recall.

I too, figured good man Mitt Romney would pull a victory out of President Obama’s atrocious political hand. And I was utterly amazed to watch those aspirations dashed when the electoral wave—come to God or whatever—did not show up, electing Barack Obama to a second term.

That means three more years of Pres. Barack H. Obama’s scatological nonsense.

Certainly, it was the wrong year to run a venture capitalist regardless of Obama’s record. That’s not Mr Romney’s fault. It is the fault of a G.O.P base, however, which pitches such moderates to the base few are enthusiastic over.

Clearly, voting against someone—even a tyrannical impostor like Obama—is not enough to stoke bellies-of-fire-and-rage on the right, propelling even a moderate to victory. I can deal with reading this blog’s errors in presidential predictions. It’s common. Everyone makes mistakes—even Beilstein.

What is becoming increasingly hard to conceive of, however, is how G.O.P. establishment types—horrors!—like Karl Rove and company, continue to  tell conservatives how to win when all they do is nominate “moderate” losers. That’s truly where the shame really belongs, folks.

Truly, indeed.

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Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis

STICK A FORK IN US, WE’RE LOSERS. ASK MR ANTLE

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By Robert L. Capehert

Over at The American Conservative website, W. James Antle III locked and loaded on Republicans. His point: we might as well accept Democratic Party victory on matters small and large because previous Republicans (from Congress to former Pres. George W. Bush) screwed things up so badly.

He writes,

Initially, the American people’s verdict on the government shutdown appeared to be “a pox on both their houses.” Republicans received plurality blame, but Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and both major parties took something of a hit in the early polls.

But as the shutdown has continued, public opinion is beginning to look as one-sided as it did in 1995-96, if it isn’t worse. The Republican Party’s favorability rating is at a record low, falling 10 points since September to just 28 percent. That’s the lowest for either major party since Gallup started asking the question in 1992.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found even worse results for the GOP. Most telling, approval of ObamaCare—though still low—has risen since October 1 despite a rocky roll-out. This does not bode well for efforts to use the shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare.

Polling is ephemeral and the 2014 elections are the political equivalent of a lifetime away. But none of the falsifiable predictions made by the proponents of this tactic have come true. They said that the Democrats would make major concessions to avoid a shutdown. But the Obama administration is trying to implement the Obamacare exchanges and the government is still shut down.

It was argued that the country would rise up and demand the defunding of Obamacare in response to this confrontation. There is no evidence of such a popular revolt, and some reason to think the shutdown is actually hurting opposition to Obamacare. It was said that President Obama and the Democrats would take the blame for shutting down the government over an unpopular law. Nearly every major poll shows the blame running in the other direction.

The problem the defunders were always going to run into was this: Obama himself would have to agree to defund Obamacare. Failing that, the defunders would need to win over enough other Democrats to form veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress.

Needless to say, neither outcome was ever very likely. What’s more, the end game depended on producing an impasse so protracted and painful that the Democrats would be forced to reconsider. But that would require creating conditions just as likely to turn public opinion against Republicans.

Yet the leading proponents of the government shutdown are more popular with key portions of the conservative activist base than Republicans who are skeptical of this approach. These conservatives don’t care what the polls say, and even after the 2012 election, aren’t sure that the numbers haven’t been skewed by the liberal media.

What these conservatives want is to see their elected officials fight. They are tired of hearing Republicans make excuses as to why government spending cannot be cut. They don’t believe Republicans who say they will work to undercut or fix Obamacare later any more than they believe the Democrats will secure the border after passing an immigration amnesty.

In a very real sense, the Texas Republican who is most responsible for the current stalemate may not be Ted Cruz, but George W. Bush. In 2005, Republicans held the White House. They held both houses of Congress. Republican appointees entered the Supreme Court. The GOP enjoyed a 55-45 Senate majority.

Aside from the confirmation of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, conservatives have very little to show for this period of unified Republican control of the federal government. And after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare with Roberts’s vote, that confirmation has begun to look like a mixed blessing at best.

Even before Bush, the Republican Congress was more interested in pork barrel, earmarks, and K Street favors than cutting government spending. After Bush, discretionary spending grew faster than it did under Bill Clinton. The biggest new entitlement program since LBJ’s Great Society was added to the federal budget. Another Cabinet-level department was created.

Ironically, much of this is convincing. Certainly too, much of it is true. Aside from that nightmare the question remains—so what?

Which is why I find irksome much of what The American Conservative publishes these days. It ends up being a “prudent” (conservative?) capitulation to Pres. Barack Obama’s statist agenda on (Russell) Kirk-ian grounds because TAC has fistfuls of animus against the Republican establishment and the mainstream conservative movement.

I, too, have large problems with the mainstream conservative movement. Add in the Republican establishment on top of that. Recent headlines on Libertarian Monks is ample proof.

But I have larger problems with ObamaCare, and larger problems still, with the raptor-armed president’s fiscal policies—policies which are anything but prudent.

Even still, I hear a hell of a lot of “prudent” preaching going on over at TAC in the face of one of the most imprudent fiscal and governing policies ever elected into high office. Conversely, the Founding Fathers established co-equal, separate branches of government to ensure such ideological battles would be fought to limit and degrade the most destructive collective capacity-driven legislation unleashed upon free citizens.

It does seem strange that poll numbers mean so much to TAC—and Mr Antle in particular.

It was not long ago when there was no support for nationalised healthcare. Or any of the other idiotic policies the left continues urge onto the population.

These policies are often enacted into law because statists do not share the “we’re losers, our positions suck” attitude that haunts this kind of pessimistic journalism on the American right.

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artium and moribus, intellego ut credam, Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis

CLASSICAL LIBERALISM VERSES TRADITIONALISM

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By Robert L. Capehert

In American conservative circles, especially in our post-modern political discourse, confusion in regards to traditionalism as opposed to classical liberalism, often presents itself.

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and contributor to National Review, clarifies this “conflation,” writing,

A classical liberal was characteristically guided by disinterested logic and reason. He was open to the gradual changes in society that were frowned upon by traditionalists in lockstep adherence to custom and protocol.

 

The eight-hour workday, civil rights, and food-and-drug safety laws all grew out of classically liberal views. Government could press for moderate changes in the way society worked, within a conservative framework of revering the past, in order to pave the way for equality of opportunity in a safe and sane environment.

Dr. Hanson’s insights could easily be understood in light of fellow National Review contributor and former NRO editor, Jonah Goldberg, whose seminal book, Liberal Fascism clarified the American left by positing the idea that modern “liberalism” is the off-spring of twentieth-century progressivism, and progressivism sprang from similar intellectual roots as European fascism.

Still, the most valuable contribution of Mr. Goldberg’s book appeared in the paperback edition of Liberal Fascism, where Goldberg added a chapter entitled “The Tempting of Conservatism.” This game-changer of a chapter unpacked “conservatism” within its American expression, where it can easily go off the rails.

Even still, the chapter’s argument (in this author’s opinion) led to the self-reflective autopsy of the “conservative movement” in our time.

Goldberg’s warning in “The Tempting of Conservatism” defined much of what is called conservatism in our day as a type progressivism of the right – or, right-wing socialism – which cannot, and often does not, argue against government being the primal institution which “forms the habits of our hearts” as Americans.

Goldberg’s first target is nostalgia on the American right. Often plaguing shallow forms of conservative expression, like Mitt Romney’s ’12 campaign, it fundamentally conflates traditionalism with conservatism, making the mistake Dr Hanson refutes above.

The first is nostalgia, a dangerous emotion in politics. American conservatives have long cast themselves as champions of hearth and home, traditional virtues, and, of course, family values. I have no objection when conservatives champion these virtues and values in the cultural sphere. Nor do I object when such concerns translate themselves into political efforts to beat back the liberal statist Kulturkampf. But conservatives get into trouble when we try to translate these sentiments into political programs at the national level. The beauty of American conservatism has been that it is an alloy of two very different metals, cultural conservatism and (classical) political liberalism. Whenever it is willing to sacrifice its political liberalism in the name of implementing its cultural conservatism, it flirts with a right-wing socialism all its own.

Part of the problem with the G.O.P of late, is, it does sacrifice its political liberal instincts with what Hillsdale College Professor of History, D.G. Hart calls a tendency to impose cultural uniformity (cultural conservatism) on the broader nation at large.

Even still, part of the “red meat” of being truly conservative in Republican circles in our times is the intensity “conservatives” seek to impose cultural uniformity on the nation.

Those conservatives, whom question the “conservatism” of such instincts, are often wrongly called “moderates.” Moreover, Goldberg is impeccable when attacking the problem of identity politics within the conservative ranks of the G.O.P faithful.

Lastly, there is the siren song of identity politics. White people are not above tribalism. It is right and good to oppose racial quotas and Balkanising logic of multiculturalism. It is worthwhile to defend the broad outlines of American culture, which multiculturists deride as white culture in order to delegitimise and, ultimately, destroy it. But it is dangerously corrupting to fight fire with fire. It is not that “white Christian America” is a bad or oppressive thing. Far from it. Rather, it is the desire to impose a vision of white Christian America that is dangerous, for in the effort to translate such a vision into a government program, an open society must become a closed one. Rousseau was right about one thing: censorship is useful for preserving morals but useless for restoring them. A Department of Judeo-Christian Culture would only succeed in creating a parody of real culture. In Europe the churches are subsidised by the state, and the pews are empty as a result. The problems with values relativism —the notion that all cultures are equal—is that important questions get decided via a contest of political power rather than contest of ideas, and every subculture in our balkanised society becomes a constituency for some government functionary. The result is a state-sanctioned multicultural ethos where Aztecs and Athenians are equal—at least in the eyes of public school teachers and multicultural gurus. In an open society, best practices win. And the conservative case is that best practices are best not because they are white or Christian but because they are plainly best.

All this affects how political campaigns are waged, for as Goldberg contends our politics are conditioned by a progressive outlook.

In Goldberg’s words, “people understand things [politics] in progressive terms.” Thus, classical liberals, whether American conservatives or libertarians, must address voters by first challenging the assumptions of the progressive context.

This becomes no more complicated than (for example) when conservative candidates run campaigns blasting “false religion” or who believes in Jesus more than another candidate, voters get the distinct impression such a conservative candidate is probably not a big proponent of the first Amendment. Hence, whatever “conservatism” is (in the mind of the voters) it must not be all that constitutional!

Sadly, this is one reason why as Americans grow more conservative, according to Kevin D. Williamson’s recent piece, they likewise grow less Republican.

In too many Republican, slash conservatives circles, conservatism has come to mean a lot more—or less, depending on one’s point of view—than a robust view of Constitutionalism. And the statist left (Democrats and progressive Republicans) have thus had a field day taking advantage of this miscommunication by American classical liberals, lampooning conservatives as out of touch and radical for a generation.

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Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos

THE ‘ILL COMMUNICATION’ OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

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By Robert L. Capehert

Good Dr. Thomas Sowell, libertarian stalwart, genius economist, wrote over at National Review Online a column  illustrating with rapier edge the numerous inarticulateness of Republicans, contrasting them with the Democratic Party, writing,

Democrats, by contrast, are all talk. They could sell refrigerators to Eskimos before Republicans could sell them blankets. Indeed, Democrats sold Barack Obama to the American public, which is an even more amazing feat, considering his complete lack of relevant experience and questionable (at best) loyalty to the values and institutions of this country.

The Democrats have obviously given a lot of attention to articulation, including coordinated articulation among their members. Some years ago, Senator Chuck Schumer was recorded, apparently without his knowledge, telling fellow Democrats to keep using the word “extremist” when discussing Republicans.

Truth is, Republicans have handled the current government shutdown debacle better than years past when they were outmanoeuvred and out-witted.

Still, that is based upon the discernible reality that Republicans have a much better hand this time around (and Pres. Obama has a weaker hand) than normally has been the case.

Of course, Dr. Sowell clarifies with extreme acuity why Republicans and even more so, constitutional conservatives as it were, find themselves dealing with such electoral power on the Democratic side of the aisle.

To be sure, a Republican Party and conservative movement which has sought relevancy where relevancy matters little foments a monstrosity of lackadaisical communication. Moreover, a championing of identity politics over an eloquent communication of the free minds and markets which is exuded from a political liberalism of the classical variety – of constitutional expression based upon reason and logical construction – has distanced Republicans ever more from the daily concerns, and fiscal realities of American life.

 

 

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De Regnis Duobus, dual civium, Hooking & Jabbing, intellego ut credam, Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A PROBLEM

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By Robert L. Capehert

Talk about depressing.

Recently, over at Reason.com, our fellow libertarians (whom often get a thing right now and again) posted a column originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch out of the commonwealth of Virginia, written by A. Barton Hinkle — a dependable, erudite, classical liberal himself.

Mr Hinkle’s article entitled, “Virginia Election Offers A Real-World Test Of Conservative theory,” describes three would-be Virginia “conservatives,” whom Mr Hinkle refers as adamantine when it comes to conservative principals, and lack, to conservative entheos, the RINO characteristics which have plagued moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney and before him, Sen. John McCain.

Hinkle starts simply enough, laying out a thesis I myself believe to be true — all things being equal. Perhaps it would be good to keep in mind, however, that life is hardly equal.

Nevertheless, Hinkle observes,

You heard this again and again after Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama. “When conservative principles are the focal point of the election, they win,” wrote Michael Walsh in National Review. “When ‘electability’ and ‘reaching across the aisle’ are personified in a middling candidate at the presidential level, they lose.” The trouble with Romney, Walsh continued, was that he “spectacularly refused to engage the Democrats on an ideological level.”

Red State’s Erick Erickson seconded that motion: “Romney barely took on Barack Obama,” he wrote as the electoral dust settled. “He drew few lines in the sand, made those fungible, and did not stand on many principles.” A few days later, he repeated the message: “Mitt Romney tried to blur lines with Barack Obama. He did not defend social conservatism…”

Chris Chocola, president of the Club For Growth, concurred: “The (Republican) party is rarely in a position to determine the best candidate. When you have someone who can articulate a clear, convincing, conservative message,” he wrote, “they win.”

Conservatism often attains victory when communicated effectively. Therefore, I can agree with many of the personalities Mr Hinkle quotes in support of his theory.

Still, conservatism is often miscommunicated. Especially recently!

The importance of effective communication in conservative politics  is essential to its comprehension by voters. In recent times, for example, cultural identity politics which often incorporate fundamentalist vagaries of one form or another on the American “right” replaces a vigorous debate about the role of government in American life.

The consequences of such befuddlement are severe. And they are a result of allowing cultural agendas rather than the U.S. Constitution nationally, and state constitutions locally, norm political expression and policy on the so-called American right.

Such cultural agendas become too easy for leftist statist candidates to straw-man fundamentalist-type conservative candidates on a host of social/cultural issues, illustrating for voters an ideology, a party, which is out of touch, and simply a collection of resentful barnyard petards whom desire to impose big government and it’s values on the private lives of American citizens.  And now we come to Mr Hinkle’s description of whom these so-called “adamantine” conservatives are:

[Ken] Cuccinelli’s conservatism is unadulterated: He fought the EPA over climate change and filed the first state suit against Obamacare. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest; considers homosexuality “intrinsically wrong”; supports school choice, gun rights, and tax cuts; and takes a hard-line stance on illegal immigration. Three years ago, he even handed out lapel pins to his staff bearing a more demure version of the state seal — one that covered up the otherwise exposed breast of the Roman goddess Virtus. (Racy stuff, if you squint really hard.)

State Sen. Mark Obenshain, running for Attorney General, is less pugnacious but no less conservative than Cuccinelli. He has supported both fetal “personhood” legislation and requiring an ultrasound as a precondition of abortion; favors requiring a photo ID to vote; wants to drug-test welfare recipients; has a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union; and once introduced legislation permitting state regulators to yank the license of any business employing an illegal alien.

And then there is E.W. Jackson, the nominee for lieutenant governor, whose pronouncements on social issues go too far even for his running mates. An August Times-Dispatch profile summarized some of them, noting that Jackson has “linked homosexuality to pedophilia, called gays and lesbians ‘sick’ and ‘perverted,’ ridiculed President Barack Obama’s Christian faith and accused the Democratic Party of being ‘anti-God’. … Jackson (also has) said … ‘the Democrat Party and Planned Parenthood are partners in this genocide’” — i.e., the aborting of black children. Sunday before last, he suggested people of non-Christian faiths practice a “false religion.”

Much of this is troubling.  There is so much one would never confuse with “protecting” a free society (conserving the freedom of free minds) wafting out of the populous bromides of these “conservatives” it is difficult to know where to begin. But, I will start with the good. The policies which government should be about, or should not in the case of the EPA, are solidly limited government positions.

It is the social fundamentalism, on a political ticket that is the troubling news here.  In a nation that upholds freedom of religion, which is enshrined in our rule of law — the U.S. Constitution — (in the first Amendment!) what is the basis for describing other religions as false? What is the basis (besides protecting the free expression of religion) of putting Pres. Barack Obama and Christianity in the same sentence in a positive way, or negatively?

The other problem is theological and stems from a Christian faith unmoored from any discernible basis in biblical theological differences between the Sacred and the secular; the Holy and the profane.

Isn’t Christianity otherworldly, as Christ speaks in Sacred Scripture in St John’s Gospel? His kingdom is not of this world? The Son of God rules His Church by powers outside all human control or means; a constitution not of the secular, but of the Sacred. Is not Christianity to be understood not by political party, but of the Word of God, the Church — and the bread and wine of our Lord, for those whom believe — a foretaste of the powers of the Age to Come (Hebrews), which are most assuredly, not of this world?

When we comes to the hyperbole about homosexuality on the so-called American right we come to worse problems. If one is a minister of God in Christ’s Church, or called to evangelism, what Christianity teaches about homosexuality irregardless of cultural attitude is essential to the CHurch’s witness. But at the social level what is a politician doing standing on such a platform as homosexuality is intrinsically evil?

The role of mediating associations, or our social life, is to teach the building blocks of virtue and character, etc. But in order to protect against tyranny, we have decided as a people to decouple value judgments and ultimate authorities from the role of civil authority.

When one runs for governor or any state office, one is seeking to represent all people in a given electoral district and defend and protect individual’s constitutional rights, whether they be mistaken or not. Since we as a nation have agreed not to arrest people of homosexual persuasion, allowing them equal rights under the law. Therefore, it strikes one as pointless to have such a political position. If it’s not part of the duty of the civil magistrate to determine whether homosexuality is right or wrong — why do dopey conservative candidates insist on bombing campaigns with such brainless bromides?

In a word: Why divide people along issues outside state constitutions, or the U.S. Constitution in general? Those “issues” of conscious should be outside of government purview to begin with. One cannot consistently hold to limited government when one’s ideology is firmly based upon pontificating various detailed positions on things outside of Constitutional parameters!

If the reason is religious, then why not say not keeping the Sabbath is “evil.” Or not tithing 10 percent of one’s income? Or not bowing in faith and repentance to the Son of God, Christ the Lord, which Christianity demands?

Or fornication? Or selfishness? Or greed?

And what exactly does the Constitution say about these issues?

Still, many American conservatives pride themselves on being Constitutional — then turn around and run these populous campaigns filled with “red meat” which cannot possibly be defended by the Constitution because the U.S. Constitution leaves such issues up to individual conscious on one hand and individual state law on the other.

Even with that consideration in mind, the U.S. Constitution does hold one’s own body as their own property and what they do with it is not the state’s business in matters of private discourse.

All of this adds up to an ideological shuck and jive dance immensely unserious and laughable as a political arm of conserving our constitutional framework. Worse, over the last 20 years it has been this type of “gas” calling itself conservatism which claims to be connected to the same kind intellectual tether as William F. Buckley, Jr., and Barry Goldwater — a half-wit assertion that cannot be maintained when one reads these men’s writings and listens to their numerous speeches about conservatism.

Mr Hinkle then concludes with the “wait and see” punch in the “conservative” gut.

Talk about drawing lines in the sand. These are not milquetoast conservatives, hand-picked by country-club RINOs. These are red-meat conservatives of crystalline purity and adamantine resolve — picked at a tea party-heavy convention attended by 13,000 of “the most strident voices in” the GOP, as a Bolling spokeman put it back in May.

After years of enduring candidates too moderate for their tastes, fire-and-brimstone conservatives have the ticket they always dreamed of — precisely the sort of Republican ticket, they insist, that wins elections. It is also precisely the sort of Republican ticket dreamed of by Democrats — who, believing the GOP slate is far too extreme for any rational voter to support, have made its conservative principles the focal point of the election.

In 34 days, we’ll find out whose theory is right.

Nice of Mr Hinkle to stick the fork in…sloooowly.

But  numerous problems with Mr Hinkle’s exist. The first one is the one that continues to plague the conservative movement — that is, what folks mean by being really conservative isn’t so much conservative, but cultural fundamentalism unpacked above. True,  fundamentalism goes in and out of style in some places, but it is not all that popular in general — and it contains antibodies which are nevertheless authoritarian in more than a few years. Moreover, it becomes antithetical to a free society when imposed on others outside such beliefs and claims.

Just as importantly, one should keep in mind that a person can be very conservative and not be fundamentalist at all. Fundamentalism. therefore, is often confused about what it means to be a “conserver” of classical liberalism.

Fundamentalism might be what conservatism has become in too many instances, which is decidedly tragic. And I would suggest that is why conservatives are no longer winning national elections effectively. Instead, conservatives of our recent times often lose winnable elections mainly because statist campaigns tilled with the earth of scare tactics mimicking conservatives as back-woods fundamentalists whom the public understandable decries as unelectable.

Which brings us back to Mr Hinkle’s article. Much of of what made these conservatives “adamantine” in Mr Hinkle’s fertile libertarian brain (to repeat Hinkle’s adjective) can hardly be suggested by observers to be the statements of folks who value freedom of religion, and freedom of the individual. Civilly speaking, there is no such thing as “false religion” because separation of Church and state decouples such judgments from being made by civil government.

The limited statement that conservatism wins when it is run on is often true. But what is calling itself “conservative” has enormous inconsistencies with the intellectual history of American conservatism.

Yes, Mitt Romney and John McCain and other moderate Republicans are a problem. And moderate Republicans often lose national elections because they have none of the ideological firepower to dismantle the ideology of the progressive left.

But bare “reaction-ism” should not be the compromise conservatives make either. And cultural/social “conservatism” which fires itself up on value judgments and positions the U.S. Constitution leaves to free citizens whom occupy free markets with free minds have liberty to to make up their mind about. Thus, such issues are removed from governmental purview purposely by the founder’s vision and should not therefore define a political philosophy based upon the preservation and animation of a Constitutional Republic.

 

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Hooking & Jabbing, Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos

MISTER DREHER ON FIRE!

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By Robert L. Capehert

Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher, crunchy-con fire-breather, stepped in it, writing,

They are [Republicans] a barking-mad pack of ideologues, is what they are. I haven’t written much about the ObamaCare thing because I don’t follow policy closely. As far as I know, ObamaCare is a bad idea. But here’s the thing: it’s the law. 

It was passed, signed by the president, and upheld in the Supreme Court. There is no way the House Republicans, or Ted Cruz or Rand Paul, is going to overturn it. The best they can do is to delay it. And then what?

Guess what: the 2012 elections were their last, best chance to overturn Obamacare, and the country didn’t go for it.

Few classical liberal websites compete with this humble rural berg of a blog when it comes to animus toward the GOP, but that criticism fundamentally presumes a classical liberal critique of the Grand Old Party. Moreover, Beilstein and I’s angst toward Republicans and the establishment periscopes onto where GOP rhetoric and political action stray from liberalism of the classical perspective.

Mr Dreher has written intelligently of the more nuanced aspects of classical conservatism, aptly revealing where popular conservatism ran amiss either in ignorance of those attributes, or in stark contrast to it.

Still, Dreher of late has too often presumed leftist premises in his antagonism of the Republican Party and conservatives, good, bad, and ugly, within it.

This becomes intimately clear when we read his above sentence, calling out Republicans for being ideologues. It should be stated if ObamaCare is not ideological, I am unsure of what can be rightly deemed ideological.

First, it does not seem Dreher presumes ObamaCare itself is an immensely and all encompassing ideological piece of legislation. It radically empowers the State to take control over healthcare, a non-public good, which is the definition of socialistic, to be sure. Socialism is ideology.

To be sure, the passing of a law which completely transforms the relationship between citizen and government, empowering the State to control the most private aspects of an individual’s life, turning a man or woman into a subject of a State, rather than a sovereign individual – a free citizen of the United States – is tyrannical.

And it is ideological. Yet, Dreher is so caught up trying to look like he’s not a Republican he fails to aptly tear into the rear end of this statist legislation – which whether one is libertarian, paleo-conservative, or any other ideology of the American right – should be of the highest ideological priority.

To concede to a law which allows government to force citizens to purchase a government product, and the first complaint one makes in a column is to blast Republicans for being a “barking-mad pack of ideologues” is  jackassory of large proportion.

I am sorry. It’s true. Mr Dreher should know better.

Republicans (in general) are a lot of things, many of them not good, but ideological is hardly one of them.

One of the strongest reasons Mitt Romney lost in ’12 is his campaign was without ideological conviction. Yet, Pres. Obama’s campaign presumed statist ideology, while simultaneously denying it.

Like dramatic exposition in a screenplay, we could concede Republicans, unlike Democrats, fail to dramatically relate ideology and it’s importance to American life on an individual basis.

But ideology is not always bad thing.

ideology is simply the premise and political priorities behind political action and policy proposals. It could be Dreher (being a gentleman) simply understands ideology in the Russell Kirk tradition – but that makes little sense given what wrangles conservative and libertarian angst against ObamaCare.

There is also the idea that if Dreher means ideology in the Kirk-ian manner, he should say that is how he means it. Still, the problem with Dreher riffing on Russell Kirk’s description of bad ideology is the classical liberal arguments against ObamaCare fail to uphold Kirk’s critique of ideology, which is merely obstructionism.

Secondly, Dreher’s concession of ObamaCare being the “law” is not a conservative approach to understanding legal matters.

Slavery, at one time, was the law. So was segregation, and forced integration, which violates freedom of association clauses in the Constitution, and the notion of free minds.

Conservatives, understanding themselves as classical liberals fought to overturn slavery because it violated Constitutional inalienable rights.  Conservatism does not mean, “it’s the law, that settles it” – especially, when that law violates the letter and spirit of our constitutional social contract!

There is much confusion on the right – and Mr Dreher, oddly, seems to express it in a different way from culture warrior conservatives. Cultural conservatives often presume government must enforce moral standards the Constitution in no way enforces, whereas Mr Dreher seems presume conservatism is not rocking the boat when established “law” is at risk.

Notice, however, that Mr Dreher does not ask why states which forbid (legally) same-sex marriage, or drug prohibition (think Colorado), are senseless for overturning such legislation. Why? It was the law. A whole storm of things used to be the law that does not make them constitutional nor wise policy. And it is the wisdom and whether or not laws animate and preserve constitutional freedoms conservatives have fought to overturn or uphold laws.

Obviously, the point of Constitutional government is to allow reform of laws, hopefully, more and more consistent with the classical liberal philosophy of our country.

ObamaCare, whatever it’s chances of repeal, is destructive to every conservative principal, and Dreher is beneath himself in attacking Republicans in the face of such a fascist law.

There is nothing wrong with Dreher believing Republicans ought to fight ObamaCare differently than they have, or are. But it is quite another to sit down at the computer terminal and hunt and peck a column that seems to ask why Republicans are so upset about ObamaCare – cause, as Dreher puts it, it’s the law.

Please.

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