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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OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM AND REPUBLICAN IDENTITY

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By David Beilstein

I’d like to spend some time sitting in on the Grand Old Party’s identity in the spacious political times we happen to find ourselves in as classical liberals.

In a sense, possibility has been normed by probability in American politics–as it is elsewhere, under the sun.

Whereas both are the product of the grist of complicating factors life exudes, nevertheless, political parties and human beings together cannot put a finger on it all that precisely–nor control the multitudinous aspects of humanity within contextualised events.

On top of that, it would be helpful to interact with Mr. Kevin D. Williamson’s piece, recently published over at National Review Online.

Gentleman Williamson puts together the thesis based upon empirical datum that in America two paradoxical truths are developing: the United States is becoming more conservative, and it is becoming far less loyal to the Republican party at the same time (particularly when we periscope in on national politics).

That conundrum is worth thinking about right now in light of this astonishing fact: When it comes to the policy opinions of American voters, there have been three peak years for conservatism: 1952, 1980, and . . . right now, according to Professor James A. Stimson, whose decades-long “policy mood” project tracks the changing opinions of the U.S. electorate. Americans have grown more conservative on the whole, but the even more remarkable fact is that the electorate has grown more conservative in every state. As Larry Bartels points out in the Washington Post, the paradoxical fact is that Barack Obama was first elected in a year in which the American policy mood already was unusually conservative, and he was reelected in a year in which it had grown more conservative still. And so the question: Why did an increasingly conservative electorate elect and reelect one of the most left-wing administrations, if not the most left-wing, in American history?

Williamson’s answer: Increasingly, Americans are not associating conservatism (classical liberalism) with the Republican party, or rather, are not associating Republicans with classical liberalism, i.e., either of American conservatism on one side, or libertarianism, on the other.

That seeming paradox may be explained in part by the fact that the American public’s increasingly conservative views are not associated with an increased sense of identification with the Republican party. In late January 2004, Gallup found a Republican/Democrat split of 31 percent to 33 percent in the Democrats’ favor, with more identifying as independent  (35 percent) than as a member of either party. In September of this year, those numbers were 22/31/45. Add in the “leaners” — those who do not strictly identify with one party but generally are inclined toward its views — and the GOP was at a 44/51 disadvantage in 2004, and today is at a 41/47 disadvantage. Which is to say, the Republicans lost 3 percent who didn’t move to the Democrats, and the Democrats lost 4 percent who didn’t move to the Republicans. Independents jumped from 35 percent to 45 percent during that period.

Jonah Goldberg, Williamson’s colleague of sorts, wrote in his 2007 bestselling book, Liberal Fascism, that American society is liberal in the classical sense. Goldberg is correct of course.

To the extent the Republican party strays from classical liberalism, then, either into the stale bog of moralistic socialism (too much social conservative jeremiads), or an affinity with leftist progressivism on the other side, an erosion of the connecting fabric between the party of Lincoln and the kind of society Americans normally support in given electoral cycles unfolds.

Nothing could illustrate this more than the conundrum of same-sex marriage debates within “conservative”/Republican circles.

In peek-a-booing into the idea America’s increased sense of conservatism does not stretch uniformly across all issues, such as same-sex marriage, Williamson unpacks some of the ongoing philosophical realities at work when it comes to marriage “equality” debate:

It’s worth nothing that the rightward shift was not uniform across all issues, with the notable exception being the question of gay marriage, which Americans have grown consistently more friendly toward. (Was it as late as 2008 that Barack Obama ran for office opposing gay marriage? It was, indeed. Was it as late as 2012 that he felt safe announcing his not-unexpected reversal? Indeed.) Those of us who take a more traditional view of the role of marriage and family should note that if the American people are here in error, it is an error that in one sense speaks well of them: Americans’ shifting views on gay marriage are rooted in a deeply American sense of fair play and toleration. They may have come to the wrong conclusion, but their hearts are in the right place.

No investigation into the paradox of Republican erosion, conservative ascendency, would be complete without ideas about a way forward. Even so, gentleman Williamson unpacks some wisely-tuned logic of his own, going forward.

So as the electorate grows paradoxically more conservative and less friendly to Republicans, the challenge for the GOP is to figure out how to connect its conservatism with a conservative public that distrusts the conservative party. That doesn’t sound like a terribly difficult challenge, but it is. Conservatism is a philosophy, which is a different thing from a specific policy agenda. Talking endlessly about the middle class is not going to cut it, nor is tinkering with tax rates. And beyond the specific political platform, Republicans have to show that they can be trusted to govern with the best interests of the broad electorate in mind. In 2013, showing that Republicans can govern starts with Republican governors. If there is any upside to the shutdown showdown, it is that by highlighting the fecklessness and foolishness of Washington, it increases the odds that a governor rather than a senator will emerge to lead the GOP in the next great contest.

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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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IS OBAMACARE CONSTITUTIONAL??

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By David Beilstein

Per: Andrew McCarthy, over at National Review Online:

Of all the fraud perpetrated in the passage of Obamacare — and the fraud has been epic — the lowest is President Obama’s latest talking point that the Supreme Court has endorsed socialized medicine as constitutional. To the contrary, the justices held the “Affordable” Care Act unconstitutional as Obama presented it to the American people: namely, as a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.

To sustain this monstrosity, Chief Justice John Roberts had to shed his robes and put on his legislator cap. He rewrote Obamacare as a tax — the thing the president most indignantly promised Americans that Obamacare was not. And it is here that our recent debate over the Constitution’s Origination Clause — the debate in which Matt FranckRamesh PonnuruMark Steyn, and yours truly have probed the historical boundaries of the “power of the purse” reposed by the Framers in the House of Representatives — descends from the airy realm of abstraction and homes in on a concrete violation of law.

It is not just that the intensely unpopular Obamacare was unconstitutional as fraudulently portrayed by the president and congressional Democrats who strong-armed and pot-sweetened its way to passage. It is that Obamacare is unconstitutional as rewritten by Roberts. It is a violation of the Origination Clause — not only as I have expansively construed it, but even under Matt’s narrow interpretation of the Clause.

It is worth pausing here briefly to rehearse an argument often made in these pages before the Supreme Court ruling two summers ago. The justices’ resolution, whatever it was to be, would in no way be an endorsement of Obamacare; it would merely reflect the fact that our Constitution, designed for a free people, permits all manner of foolishness. “Constitutional” does not necessarily mean “good.” What Obamacare always needed was a political reversal in Congress. Thus, it was unwise for Republicans to become passive while hoping the justices would do their heavy lifting for them — both because it was unlikely that this Supreme Court would invalidate Obamacare and because a ruling upholding it would inevitably be used by the most demagogic administration in history as a judicial stamp of approval for socialized medicine.

Trouble is, that about sums it up. And McCarthy’s piece exudes the central problems with such a O’Care “law.” Likewise, the Obama administration’s rhetoric cannot hide it, either.

And it is the firm duty of the Republican Party, however much Libertarian Monks might differ with the party of Lincoln, to be constitutional bulwark against this fascist legislation, which, to be sure, was dishonestly shoved down the throat of the American populace.

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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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BRICKS IN THE WALL

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By David Beilstein

Could the Obama administration be beginning to feel the pressure of the partial government shutdown?

Recent reports indicate President Barack H. Obama has called upon Republican House Speaker John Boehner, for discussions over the continuing resolution.

To be sure, the two men have many another wishes and prayers to work out.

So far, Republicans have not committed any atrocious public relations missteps. Still, there are other reports of moderate establishment Republicans beginning to fold under pressure.

The usual suspects, guys like Congressman Peter King (R-NY), and a slew of Virginia status quo Republican quislings, are getting antsy.

Meanwhile, Michael Tanner of National Review Online fame and Cato Institute contributor, lays the blame for our current circumstances on big government in general. While I concur with good man Tanner, I am also utterly confused how citizens are surprised about government shutdowns when they continue to vote in larger numbers for a broader, bigger government.

In a government of separate but equal branches of government, the system only works when the government in question limits itself to enumerated, common good. Once government takes on the role of creating the perfect society, various levels internecine conflict will necessarily result — becoming a vera causa of political hijinks and political party warfare.

We again come to the illustration of religion and the state. The purpose of the separation of Church and state clause implicitly outlined in the U.S. Constitution is not to foment a society hostile to religion, but in contrast, preserve and protect religious affection decoupled from the superficial expediency of politics.

In short, Separation of Church and state, in contrast to pop conservatism bromides of late, is a check on government power, not the church, etc.

Insofar as it is possible, the classical liberal desires religion to be decoupled from politics for the health of religion, as religious affection plays an ever important “mediating association” in the development of a people preserving ordered liberty.

The same is true of government. When government intrudes where it does not belong, where there is primal disagreement decoupled from “the common good,” government breaks down.

The result, therefore, becomes those duties which government ought to be about, are left without attention to the denouement of civil society.

And as gentleman Michael Tanner aptly observers,

The Founding Fathers intended the federal government to have a minimal impact on our lives. As Thomas Jefferson said in his inaugural address, “a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement . . . This is the sum of good government.” One has trouble imagining Jefferson quivering in terror at the prospect that the federal government might cut back for a few days.

 

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