From The Editorial Desk, intellego ut credam, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos

I QUIT

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Due to a health emergency, I am quitting the blog Libertarian Monks. It’s been a grand time, but all good things — as is true with bad things — must end.

Suffice to say, I would offer a serious and heartfelt thanks to all those crafty and intelligent band of classical liberal readers, however small a group they may be, who’ve stuck with us and read our brand x of vicious pontifications on limited government and the need for a constitutional revolution in these United States. You’re the best.

I appreciate everyone who ever read this blog.

Goodbye.

Sincerely Yours,

David Joseph Beilstein

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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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From The Editorial Desk, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos

REPUBLICANS LED TO THE SLAUGHTER

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By David Beilstein

Congressional Republicans were slaughtered by the Obama White House in the government shutdown debacle.

Feckless Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), whom received a standing ovation for his meagre attempts — and whom was ultimately successful at crafting an agreement with with congressional Democrats —is also worthy of the strongest condemnation by serious classical liberals.

We should have known nothing of significance would be accomplished on entitlement spending, debt, or ObamaCare with such a force of impotency at the helm of congressional leadership.

Some will claim a Republican victory, as was noted here. But all that really can be said is a U.S. president with anemic poll numbers—with a whopping 86 percent of Americans thinking the country is headed in the wrong direction—President Obama was successfully able to defang Republicans. To be sure, this resided in Republican weakness, not President Obama’s strengths.

And it must be said that is an embarrassing place to be. But it is understandable. Think hard. If such were not the case, Barack Obama would not have won reelection.

We can be assured of that.

Many Republicans plan on fighting for another day. Where have we heard that kind of cheese before?

That’s the awful thing about Republicans. The aphorism about there being no time like the present to mount a robust, and dramatically inspired constitutional revolution to the Obama White House’s statist oligarchy resumes being perpetually at  arm’s length.

It’s why Republicans lose at the national level—and also why fewer Americans see reason to vote for such an irrelevant political entity.

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Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Weekly Politikos

RECKLESS BARRY O

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By David Beilstein

It is a rarified air for President Barack Obama not to be reckless, as we may call attention to the president’s perverse imprudence of late—especially in light of Rod Dreher’s unease with congressional Republican “ideologues.”

In President Obama’s battle against House Republicans, then, it is no surprise the president of these United States appears hell-bent on challenging the 14th Amendment, tempting to plunge the nation into default.

George F. Will does not always get everything right, but he did nail this issue. According to the U.S. Constitution, default would be a choice—not a necessity caused by congressional Republicans.

Aside from a battle over the funding of ObamaCare, it now appears we have a battle over the U.S. Constitution. In essence, a constitutional crisis emerges—even if the mainstream press will not admit it.

If one thought elections did not matter now is a good time to reverse such an opinion. They do matter. Libertarian Monks had as much problems with Mitt Romney as many of our faithful but modest band of readers.

But Romney would have been better than a mad-dog tyrant—doing a pretty good mimicry job a tyrant rather than a president.

Sounds harsh, I know.

But look around—take a glimpse at the purposeful chaos Barack Obama has unleashed upon American society; and ask oneself, is this what this man meant by radical transformation?

Looks like it.

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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, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos

GLASS JAW REPUBLICANS

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By David Beilstein

Republicans are desperate for a deal to re-open the other 17 percent of the Federal Government. At this stage of the game no deal has been struck. Pres. Obama rejected an earlier G.O.P. offer at the beginning of the weekend.

Ironically, in seeking out a deal which continues to offer more and more to the president, Republicans have helped Obama appear principled and themselves, stridently intransigent.

In another how-not-to-negotiate moment in our political discourse (I myself was a afraid of this!), Republicans again find themselves out-communicated and out-hustled on an issue which the President of these United States, holds an untenable position.

Republicans then, appear as wimps in the face of President Barack H. Obama’s continued assault on sane governing principals.

First, we cannot afford ObamaCare. It will increase—not lower— healthcare costs by an ever, discernible amount. Moreover, the quality of healthcare will decrease. Perhaps of more concern is how healthcare will become less spontaneous to the needs of individuals, blunted by the dull edge of latticework of bureaucracy.

When it comes to other fiscal matters it gets worse. In order to maintain the solvency and reliability of the public safety net, enacted throughout numerous generations, fiscal sanity must prevail on Capital Hill and discernible spending cuts must be enacted.

Raising the debt limit does increase America’s debt—substantially!—and the president of these United States is either confused, or a liar, for saying otherwise.

In using the Federal leviathan to punish Americans to strengthen his own hand against Republicans, Pres. Obama has shown the soft tyrannical nature of his progressive ideology, and that citizens are subjects of their government, rather than government being a subject of sovereign individuals.

It does not help, of course, that Republicans and mainstream conservatives alike have not argued against such uses of government—instead, gathering a lowest common denominator political base by preaching the resentment class version of the social gospel, amped up on feinted anger over a plethora of social issues purposelessly decoupled from having anything to do with government—like whether the ten commandments and prayer in school should be imposed on the public square.

As such, the entire point of a constitutional argument against bloated and intrusive government has gone without a credible apologetic.

We can surmise whatever kind of deal is to be struck; Democratic Sen. Harry Reid will probably get 80 percent of what he wants. And he will have done so without bowing at the altar of Republican demands.

Sen. Reid will also have done so with a Democratic Party in lockstep behind him.

The Republican narrative is not one of blood and guts vainglory, but timid action altogether. One of the reasons Republicans fail to create any loyalty in their voters is because they do not stand for anything.

Ever notice those whom many hate inspire reams of admiration? That’s because principals gather passionate loyalty. Republicans lack courage. They are and continue to be wimps despite a strong position because of fiscal realities and public sentiment when it comes to ObamaCare.

But Republicans demand to act as if those things are not true—apologising for their actions.The result is they do not inspire loyalty in the electoral populace.

Even worse, Republicans have taken aim at libertarian and conservative congressional members and fired shots at their backs. Worse, some calling themselves conservative want nothing to do with opposing and defunding ObamaCare, a tyrannical piece of legislation if there ever was one.

Republicans keep giving up inches. Pres. Obama, meanwhile, though with a crappy-as-anything hand, continues to get more and more from Republicans and still make them look foolish. All of this undergirds Obama’s action even though the 44th president of these United States approval ratings are in the toilet, his political capital used up.

 

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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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