Real Conservatism

So, Jonah Goldberg advised the other day that one can be pro-abortion and be Conservative…in fact, he later went on to say, in effect, that just about anyone can be Conservative. I, naturally, took exception to this attitude and in some Twitter responses, gave my ideas:

Not really. Conservatism, if it is anything, is a defense of faith, family and property. Being atheist and/or in favor of abortion means you cannot defend two of the three main elements Conservatives seek to conserve. I don’t know of this is part of Goldberg’s possible “evolution” on certain issues to make himself acceptable to the left, but it is complete nonsense as a Conservative opinion.

To be sure, an atheist or pro-abortion person could *selectively* support certain elements of a Conservative philosophy, but doing such doesn’t make one Conservative. It just makes one not a complete fool. There is truth and there is falsehood. There is right and there is wrong. It is false, for instance, to think there is any moral justification of abortion. And no Conservative would ever place himself in the position of defending falsehood.

I think Goldberg illustrates what happens when someone is wise enough to reject the most obvious bad aspects of liberal ideology but fails to see that the entire liberal idea is inherently wrong. Such “Conservatism” is a mere matter of style. No one with above room temp IQ, after all, wants to entirely embrace an ideology which is laughably wrong about so much. But there’s a gulf between that and being actually Conservative

Later, I went on to note that Goldberg’s version of Conservative giggled while the social fabric of our society was ripped to shreds. That version of Conservatism is, officially at least, strong on such things as defending free speech and the Second Amendment, but it never even tried to defend average folks against the assault launched by the left not just on the concept of morality, but on the very concept of Truth. To people like Goldberg, it was ok that people were out there saying there’s no such thing as Truth – they defended people saying that. The proper response is that while people are allowed to say it, they should be hated for saying it and, as far as practical, not given a public platform to shout such a vile absurdity. Like this: there was an attitude of anger that Conservatism was driven from college campuses, but no anger that Conservatism didn’t drive away those arguing that Truth is a social construct.

Think about it: would you or anyone be in favor of allowing in a medical school professorship someone who asserted that all disease is a mere matter of mind? There are people who believe that – that we get sick only because our minds are sick and if we’ll just get our minds right, our illnesses would vanish. Of course we wouldn’t want such idiots teaching in a medical school…but its no different when we allow someone to teach in a philosophy class that Truth doesn’t exist. The very assertion negates itself: if Truth doesn’t exist, then it is untrue to say that Truth doesn’t exist. Yet we allow such people to poison the minds of college kids all the time and no one in the so-called Conservative movement ever so much as hinted that such people should be driven out. And the reason we never had a Conservatism that would do that is because our Conservatism hasn’t been about conserving the things which need conserving: Faith, Family, Property. If those things aren’t your concern, then you’re going to be functionally ok with Progressives doing their thing. You’ll end up only caring that taxes be kept low so you can make money and live well, insulted from the effects of social disintegration.

You see, I don’t think the Conservative movement was really interested in defending things like the Second Amendment – that rose up from below: the people did that. Conservative leaders only got on board when, de-facto, that issue gave them a Congressional majority in 1994. Prior to then, there was no Conservative-led effort to protect or expand Second Amendment rights…and I feel confident that if it ever became a political liability to support the Second Amendment, the movement Conservatives would drop it like a bad habit. Same with abortion – the pro-life movement is entirely grass-roots, and it gets no real help from the Conservative leadership. Just a bit of lip service…and now that plenty of Conservative leaders are locked into Never Trump, they are starting to “evolve” on the abortion issue.

When your desire is to defend Faith, Family and Property, you start getting a different view of what is important. This is why, I think, Conservatives like me are ok with Trump’s background, which is clearly hedonistic (he might not be, now, but he certainly was once upon a time). It isn’t important – what is important is Trump doing things which people like me perceive as a defense of Faith, Family and Property. Trump’s adherence to the Rule of Law (his endlessly repeated demands that Congress take action, eg) is crucial to the defense of all three Conservative ideals. He’s done more for the pro-life movement than any other Conservative President, ever. You guys all know I was a vigorous supporter of the younger Bush…but let’s face the fact, for all his clear moral qualities, he never moved the ball in the pro-life direction. Am I supposed to be more happy with W on this, or Trump? Sorry, but I have to be more happy with Trump. He’s doing the things I think need doing.

You also start prioritizing things based on your ideals. For instance: while understanding that free markets are always better than regulated markets and that trade between nations is a good thing, you start to look around and realize that, still, the market and trade have to be at the service of Conservative ideals, not the other way around. What good is it to have a completely free market and completely free trade if my fellow Americans are thrown out of work and their small and mid-sized communities destroyed because the textile mill was moved to China? Understanding that sometimes a business has to die, you still start looking around…and once you do, you start to realize some things. First and foremost, that the United States rose from agricultural backwater to global economic dominance under Protection. That while we were under Protection, we still did massive trade with the world. That a free trade agreement many hundreds of pages long and regulated by faceless bureaucrats is likely not really a free trade agreement but is, instead, a mechanism whereby those juiced in get special rake-offs. Finally, and most important, that whatever else we do, we still need to make, mine and grow most of our own stuff because that is both economically healthy and necessary for national security.

The leaders of the so-called Conservative movement never got ’round to thinking about any of that. Give the TruCons their way, and we’ll have low taxes and all our things will be made overseas and, in the by and by, every last bit of Progressive drivel about social relationships will be enshrined not in law, but in a series of Supreme Court dictates. I’d rather not, thanks very much. I happen to think that not only I, but my most vigorous opponents would do better under a genuinely Conservative governance. They might officially hate some aspects of it, but they’ll very much like the stability, rule of law and peace and prosperity that it affords. To me, to allow anything liberal or Progressive to happen is a degrading failure: that we might, in a pluralist society, have such things happen is a given…but any real Conservatism is going to fight to prevent any of it from happening. A lost political battle is a lost political battle: but what our Conservative leaders have done is merely surrender, again and again, each time the Progressives really pressed an issue (except on taxes, of course: but, here, you must note, our Conservative leaders had Progressive allies…even among the left, there are those wise enough to know that if you overtax everything, you destroy everything).

I guess, by now, I’m Deplorable. Perhaps so. But, if so, I’m in some fine company. I defy any TruCon out there to say that Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, was anything but the most rigid Conservative. And here’s what he had to say:

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.

It is ok, then, to be Deplorable. Such provides the insipid common sense. I’m not an expert. Neither is Trump. Neither are all those people with MAGA hats and American flags on their social media pages. Most of them not only can’t quote Locke, they have no idea the man ever existed. They don’t know the exchange rate between Chinese and American currency. Heck, some of them would probably have trouble pointing to China on a map. But they are the people who make this country work – they grow up, get married, have kids and go to work. They work their whole lives and build up a small savings and then propose to have a quiet retirement until they die and are replaced by people who are almost indistinguishable from them. They want peace and quiet in their neighborhoods and around the world. They might gossip a bit about what the neighbors are doing, but they far more often just mind their own business. They don’t care what religion another person has, nor about what political creed they adhere to. In the day to day, they only care that a person is honest and pulls his or her weight. They have no objection to providing even generous assistance to anyone down on their luck, but they can’t stand to see someone laying about on purpose. They love their country and, if called upon, will fight and die for it. They are the True Conservatives…they are Conservative, even if they can’t articulate it. I’m with them: the Real Conservatives…and all I do will be to defend them doing what they do.

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Kanye West and the Great Awokening

Yes, Awokening. Because we’re getting “woke”, you see? Or, at least, that’s what the hip, young people say. Or, so I’m told.

You might have heard that Kanye West got himself into a bit of controversy. It started when he rose to the defense of Candace Owens; a black Conservative lady. It wasn’t so much an endorsement of her views so much as just a firm defense of her right to have her views. Kanye got a lot of flack for doing that, and then instead of doing the usual celebrity mealy-mouthed apology, he doubled down by Tweeting out a picture of his MAGA hat, signed by Donald Trump. The meltdown among the social media SJW’s has been epic – and enormously entertaining. But there is a more important issue at stake here. It is about people finally waking up to what is really happening.

I don’t really know Kanye West beyond knowing he’s a rap star, apparently of gigantic proportions. But as my musical tastes stopped being hip by about 1990 or so, I’m just not familiar with his work. It could be the best stuff ever, could be the worst – I just don’t know. His fans love him, and on the level of being a performer, that is the only test he has to meet. Plenty of voices on the right are warning people off from embracing Kanye West – I can’t fully determine if this is based on fears that he isn’t truly Conservative or over distaste for his music. As for me, I suspect Kanye is most emphatically not a Conservative and given what I know of rap, I’m fully prepared to find out that he’s done some songs I’d find objectionable. So, what? This is America and you get to put out whatever you want in music, books, movies, etc. Also, I don’t have to limit myself to alliances with Conservatives. If there’s a non-Conservative out there who wants to do something I agree with, I’m ok with that. The only people I absolutely can’t work with are the SJW types…because they hate me and want me destroyed; so, that makes working with them a little difficult.

Outside of all that, the more important thing here is that Kanye understands that there is a group in America which wants to limit him. They are saying to him that because he is black, he can’t hold certain opinions. Kanye rejects that. So does Candace Owens. So, I think, will more and more African-Americans now that someone with the pop-culture stature of Kanye West has shown it to be possible. That is what is important. Additionally, there are tens of millions of people out there who don’t care too much about politics but are entirely ok with people holding different views about politics…and they are watching the left trying to destroy Kanye because he spoke out of turn and they don’t like it. That is what is going to prove revolutionary.

For the longest time, we on the right have not been able to make a dent in popular culture because hardly anyone – and no one at the top of the heap – has been willing to step out of the prescribed, PC requirements of popular culture. James Woods, for instance, is a great actor and he’s overtly right, but he’s also not a major player in the Hollywood game at this time. Kanye coming out and saying, in essence, “you can be black and have different opinions, and even be friendly with Trump” is as if John Lennon had endorsed Richard Nixon in 1968. The massive pushback against it is an indicator of how gigantic this can be: the left is fearful that African-Americans and other Democrat-heavy voting blocs will now start to re-assess their political allegiance. Remember, if just 20% of the African-American vote were to go GOP, there’d be no chance the Democrats could win in 2018 or 2020. They’d be crushed.

But I think we also have to take a step beyond that. We, too, need our Awokening. Everyone does. Nothing in this country is quite as it should be. The rot has gone very deep. We on our side have let a lot of things slide, as well. Yesterday, I came across a Tweet series from a lady describing the interaction her boyfriend had with the police. Read it, it is horrifying. There are things we are completely right about, but also things we’ve been ignoring, likely because they don’t directly affect us all too often, or at all. But that isn’t good enough. We have to be on guard for all. There are some these days advocating an amicable divorce between the Red and Blue Americas. I won’t have anything to do with such talk. First off, because I won’t consign part of my fellow Americans to the unfettered rule of SJW tyrants; secondly, because economic and strategic reasons compel us to remain together. But they also compel us to build a just society – doing so requires that we remove the left from power and keep them removed. Doing that will require a pretty consistent level of political support north of 55% for an extended period of time…and that means we need a lot more people on our side, and to get them we’re going have to start caring about things we haven’t cared about: as noted at the link, we’ll have to start carrying about the phenomena described as “driving while black”. Sure, a lot of SJW nonsense has been put out under that phrase…but I know POC who say they have run afoul of it. And even if it is hard to quantify, it is there…and we should find out why, and seek to remedy it.

Ultimately, everyone of good will is in this together with us, even if they don’t agree with us on every issue. But everyone who has a sense of fairness; who has a desire for liberty; who doesn’t want anyone running their lives – all such people are our allies. And all of us must band together.

Only Conservatism Can Sustain Democracy

Kevin Williamson is becoming something of a favorite of mine lately – because he’s so consistently wrong, that it’s rather fun to read him and then go over the ways that he is wrong. It also helps that he’s a splendid writer. Anyways, he’s got a new article in Commentary about Democracy – Liberal or Militant. It is well worth a read. I was going through it and kind of checking off the wrong as I went along, but this passage was the first which seemed worthy of a direct response:

…a more immediately pressing question is whether liberalism can contain democracy—it is mass democracy itself, not jackbooted stormtroopers, that poses the most dangerous threat to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, property rights, and other fundamentals of citizenship. It is the democratic mob, not an autocratic elite, that demands conformity in life and thought and speech, and brooks no dissent…

The short answer to that is, of course, that liberalism cannot contain democracy. Liberalism is incompatible with democracy. It would take a whole book to write down everything wrong with liberalism, but among liberalism’s many failures is that it is anti-tradition. And tradition is crucial to the success of democracy. A quick bit by Chesterton on this:

But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. Those who urge against tradition that men in the past were ignorant may go and urge it at the Carlton Club, along with the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones, like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross.

You see, it wasn’t the Constitution that preserved our liberties until just recently – it was tradition. Sure, sure: the words were written down and there was even reference made to the words in various laws and court cases. But the fundamental fact of life is that all the written words in the world don’t amount to a hill of beans if people don’t live by them…and they’ll only live by them via tradition. Why was it unthinkable for FDR to seek a third term in 1940? Because Washington had served two terms and then voluntarily stepped down, even though he could easily have obtained another term (indeed, he could have had the office for life, if he wanted). It became tradition – and even some very successful and popular Presidents felt bound by it and refused to run for a third term. Who broke the tradition? An autocratic elitist by the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It should be noted that Roosevelt’s vote total dropped by 400,000 from 1936 when he ran for re-election in 1940 – and this when the country, as a whole, was doing much better than it had been in 1936; while the GOP vote total increased by about five and a half million. Seems that some of the regular folks out there just didn’t like this break with tradition.

But, at least there wasn’t a law prohibiting it. So, there was that. But once you start setting aside tradition, then no tradition is safe. Just a few years later, the President of the United States committed us to war in Korea without a Congressional declaration of war. This action would have been unimaginable even ten years previously. It kinda went downhill from there – to Vietnam; to using the FBI to spy on Americans; to vile, little CIA actions around the world; to refusing to enforce laws against subversion and espionage because the party in power would take a big hit from it; to the use of friendly judges to enact into law things which no Congress would ever approve; to the bureaucracy entering into extra-legal agreements with pressure groups to de-facto make law outside of Congressional or judicial action; to, now, parts of the federal bureaucracy attempting to annul the results of a Presidential election because they don’t like the man who won.

None of this was done by popular demand. The crude and rude mob of American democracy wanted none of this. Because the crude and rude American democracy still clings to its traditions. Most of these people can’t put it into words and couldn’t quote Locke if their lives depended on it, but they know that the law is supposed to apply to everyone; that Congress is supposed to make the laws; that judges are to merely interpret the law; that the bureaucracy is supposed to do as it is told, not as it might want to do. The American democracy watched for decades as autocratic elitists twisted our system to their own liking and increasingly refused to even give lip service to the desires of the people. In the end, they voted Trump – someone as rude and crude as they are. And there is Trump – trying mightily to actually make the system work as it is supposed to work. You know: getting Congress to actually pass laws to do things; curbing the courts via the appointment of judges who know their proper place; insisting that the bureaucracy obey orders. And who is pushing back against this? Not the mob of American democracy…but the very autocratic elitists which Williamson thinks a lesser threat than the mob.

Williamson does note some of the outrages going on out there – specifically some of the anti-freedom actions along the lines of people trying to suppress dissenting voices and so forth. But it isn’t the people demanding this. A few thousand carefully organized demonstrators shouting for, say, Exxon to be destroyed in the name of fighting climate change isn’t the American democracy on display. It is what it is: a carefully orchestrated pressure group designed to give the appearance of popular support. It is created, organized and led by autocratic elitists. If you ask the Average Joe out there, you wouldn’t find one in a hundred who wants to punish Exxon…even among those who believe that climate change is real. No, the shouting mobs of zealots represent no one but a few elitists who want various climate change actions taken because such actions will increase their personal power and wealth.

The cure for what ails us isn’t to curb the mob – it is to allow the mob to rule. I know, we’re all supposed to be opposed to that, but I think our kneejerk disdain for the mob is built into us by a century of propaganda by elitists. You, my friends, are the mob – and either you will rule, or the elite will. Pick which one. As for me, I’ll trust myself to the good sense of the sometimes foolish, often ignorant American people…because, in the end, their core desire is that everyone be left alone to live their lives as they see fit. In a fit of anger they may howl for my blood, but once they calm down a bit they’ll leave me be. Meanwhile, the elite is relentless in its pursuing hatreds. For 60 years, for instance, my Christian views have been hounded until we are now very much a post-Christian nation, and yet these elites continue to demand the complete destruction of my Christianity. The very existence of it inflames them…and they’ll never, ever quit.

Liberals of old had some fine things to say – some good ideas, that is. But they were only good ideas when they were the fulfillment of American tradition. It was liberal to extend the franchise to all men and women…but it was only good because it helped to reinforce the Conservative, traditional idea that we will rule ourselves. And here’s something to ponder – some of the very same liberals who were pushing to enfranchise women in the early 20th century were also working diligently to cut the voting public out of decision-making via a strengthened federal government which would manage the country in spite of what the people might want. Think of all the things going on in this country you don’t like – pretty much if you can name the abuse of power, it was an abuse which was imposed on us, via a judge or a bureaucrat, who took no notice of what the people might want…even if the people had clearly stated their desires at the voting booth. It is no real surprise that elements of the bureaucracy are trying to annul an election…it is just a culmination of what has been going on for a century. That is, it is merely the logical end to a government which decided, not too long ago, that it can take your private property and hand it over to another private entity because that entity promised the government more money. A bureaucracy which can get away with things like that is not likely to think that anything is out of bounds for it.

What we need to save freedom in this nation isn’t more laws or more effective expositions of Constitutional theory – what is needed is merely that the government obey the law, and submit to the will of the people in the creation of laws. Sure, the people might come up with some bone-headed ideas from time to time; like Prohibition…but it should also be noted that the people fixed that particular mistake rather rapidly. Meanwhile, gigantic mistakes like the EPA are now pushing 50 years on with no end in sight…and even relatively smaller mistakes like federal funding for Planned Parenthood can’t be spiked no matter how many pro-life Republicans people send to Congress. The mistakes of the people may be fabulous, but they are usually short-lived…while the mistakes of the Elite seem to go on forever.

Let us endeavor to have the people make our own mistakes, rather than having mistakes imposed on them. Let we, the people rule – and we’ll likely rule most often much better than the elites have. After all, no genuinely fascist or communist or Nazi government really rose to full power via the people…Mussolini’s fascists seized power; communists in various nations directly seized power or infiltrated their way into total power; the Nazis got into office via a shabby political deal among the elites (in the last really free election of pre-Nazi Germany, Hitler’s goons only secured 33% of the vote). I’ll trust my fellow Americans, knowing that in the end, they’ll give me a fair deal.

Williamson and the Us or Them Lesson

So, former NR writer Kevin Williamson got canned by The Atlantic today. Why? Because he had views which the left found offensive. I’ll wait a moment while you pick yourself up off the floor: gotta be the most shocking thing you’ve ever heard.

As readers here know, I’ve had my issues with Williamson: I view him as someone who has a cruel, elitist attitude towards anyone who hasn’t risen into his social circle. He ascribes their failure to do so to a moral failing on their part…they are too busy taking opiods and pushing out kids and don’t have the gumption to rent a U-Haul and get themselves to Manhattan, where high paying writing gigs await.

Just before Williamson got the axe, he wrote a piece at The Atlantic. It still hasn’t been scrubbed from the website, so you can read it if you wish. I went off on a bit of a Twitter rant about it. It was just so wrong about everything. The most egregious bit of wrong was in Williamson’s utter lack of understanding of why the regular folks are in revolt.

You see, the thing about democracy is that it is only partially related to voting. Self-rule is not just people casting votes – people cast votes in all sorts of governments, some of them quite oppressive. No, it isn’t voting. What is democracy – self-rule, that is – is when the people decide what they are going to debate and vote on. It wouldn’t matter if 99% of us turned out for an election if we’re only allowed to vote on issues pre-selected for us by a Ruling Class. On the other hand, we’d have democracy if only 10% of the electorate had the franchise but the issues voted on are those which rise from the people.

Of course, we have a Republic rather than a Democracy because we figure that some issues really aren’t up for a vote – or, at least, aren’t up for an easy vote. Such things as our right to free exercise; to self defense, etc. But in the democratic aspect of our republican government, what must happen is that the things we vote on are our things. We very much want to debate and vote on abortion; gender issues; gun regulation; immigration; corporations; trade…the elite – people like Williamson – figure we shouldn’t. We might get it wrong, you see? We might not see the wisdom of open borders or free trade with Chinese tyrants. And therein is really why you got Trump. Flawed as he is, he was still clever enough to find out what we, the people, wanted to talk about and then he started talking about them. It was really no more than that…Hillary and the rest of the GOP field was talking about what they believed we should care about; Trump talked about what we actually cared about. Presto: President Trump.

That is the real bone of contention: who really rules this nation? We, the people, rather think that we should rule it. The Elite thinks that it should. Who will get to? We’re going to find out over the next two to four years.

As for Williamson and his like, I’ve no real sympathy. He wanted to curry favor with the masters of our Elite (almost all are liberals, of course) so that he could get the good gigs…and, of course, be able to look down on those poor slobs who don’t know anything. Well, he got what he wanted – for about a week. So blinded in his arrogance, he simply didn’t see that the left doesn’t tolerate dissent. Not any real dissent. To be a Conservative in the Elite, you’ve got to be so entirely milquetoast that your Conservatism is more of an attitude than a thing…and an attitude which will instantly change on command. I’ve been saying that the Never Trump right would “evolve”, and they have. True, I thought they would “evolve” on abortion first, but it turns out that the press of liberal issues has been on gun control, and so their first step in evolution was to suddenly find flaws with hick morons owning weapons. They’ve also evolved to the point where any thought of border security – even if it was only lip service in the past – is gone. But, don’t worry, they’ll get around to abortion in the by and by. Williamson has been, so far, strong enough to retain some actual Conservative views…and, so, out he went. We’ll see now if he really thinks it over and realizes he’s got two choices: us, or them. Because that it how it is: we’re in an us or them situation. Either they win and impose their views, or we win and impose ours. Pick which one you want – there won’t be a compromise between them.

A Despicable World Order

I did some checking and from what I can tell, the low end estimate for the number of people killed in war since the end of World War Two is 13.4 million people. I’m sure they are all happy that at least they weren’t killed in a Great Power conflict.

The other day, in the bruhaha over the firing of Tillerson, I saw a quote on Twitter which said that in a long discussion on foreign and defense policy, Tillerson and some others were taking the position that the post-WWII settlement was excellent and had to be defended at all costs while Trump kept on objecting that it wasn’t all its been cracked up to be. It was after this meeting that Tillerson allegedly called Trump a moron over his views. I had always doubted that Tillerson ever said such a thing, but in that context I believed the statement true – if not in verbatim quote, then at least in spirit. People like Tillerson do believe in the post-WWII order. In fact, most people involved in the higher reaches of government and business believe it. It is their received wisdom. They can’t imagine anything other than what we’ve had since 1945.

This is why there are plenty of people, including high up in the Trump Administration, who are still defending the Iran deal; the UN in general; the so-called free trade agreements. This is what you do. This is how things are done. You don’t question them. To such people, it would be as if a priest had chimed in during a meeting with the Pope with the observations that he didn’t believe in the divinity of Christ. They really believe it in that sort of way – as a matter of religious dogma.

Just last night, I decided to watch The Good Shepherd. It is an odd movie and a bit difficult to follow as it continually flashes back and forward in time. The crux of of the story is the development of a CIA official in charge of counter-intelligence from his earliest days in the WWII OSS through to the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion. One particular scene caught my eye: the CIA official is in conference with a mob boss in order to get the mob boss’ help in return for getting the heat off the mob boss. Par for the course stuff – but the mob boss says at one point, “you guys worry me: you’re the people who make big wars.” To which the CIA official says, “no; we’re the people who keep the wars small.” That is, I think, a pretty accurate reflection of the mindset of the people who run our world: they keep things under control. Out of our hands, you see? Because the regular folks can’t be trusted with actual power – there needs to be a group of people who know best, and who can manipulate things in order to keep things running smoothly and ensure that nothing too bad happens.

The support for this theory is that some how or another, it was the foolish passions of the common people who had made the two World Wars. The elite since World War Two has been determined that there be no repeat! That the wars were actually caused by the fumbling idiocy of the elites in charge doesn’t enter into the equation: the elites will not accept that it was their error, and as someone had to be at fault, they decided it must have been you and me. I will grant that we haven’t had another World War, but it isn’t like we’ve had peace, either. Those 13.4 million corpses are testimony to that. In addition, each time you get ready to be patted down by the TSA, you are demonstrating our lack of peace. You see, if there was peace, then you’d be able to buy a plane ticket for cash at the gate and get on the plane without even showing your ID.

The post-WWII order has been an utter failure. The supposed success of the order – the increasing material prosperity of the world – was an accident; the elites didn’t call it into being, as the advances in science were going to do their thing no matter what. In politics, we’re finding ourselves increasingly balkanized into mutually hating groups. War is continual around the world – often accompanied by atrocities which would have made Attila the Hun blush. Populations are being uprooted; ancient ways of life are being destroyed; scores of millions are aborted; birth rates drop around the world; an increasingly wealthy and out of touch Ruling Class develops ever more astonishing lies to justify it’s continued existence. This must come to an end.

And, in fact, it will come to an end – it is only a question of how and when. This isn’t sustainable (to take a word our elites love to use). We can’t continually move people around from one end of the world to another. We can’t continue to be sterile. We can’t continue to undermine the very concept of family. We can’t keep attacking religion. It will all go smash – in fact, it already is going smash. The underlying foundations of all civilizations in the world (Christian, Muslim, Chinese, Indian) are crumbling…and it isn’t leading to peace and prosperity but to social dislocation and a madness which manifests itself in monstrosities varying from people tattooing their bodies to blowing up shopping malls.

Do not speak to me of saving the post-WWII order. I hate and despise it. It has brought nothing but an infinity of woe upon the world. Let us replace it. I want a Distributist future, and I hope that more people embrace it, at least in some form. But whatever it is, it can’t be as hideous and as anti-human as what we’ve done since the end of World War Two.

The Obama/Trump Contrast

Victor Davis Hanson, as usual, has something interesting to say regarding the stark contrast between Barack Obama and Donald Trump:

…The nation did not suddenly become liberal in 2008 or conservative in 2016. Rather, in both years it rejected blasé centrism — first trying out a left-wing deviation from establishmentarianism, then in frustration turning to a right-wing antidote to both the failed medicine and the original diseased status quo.

Antidote One, of unapologetic progressivism under Obama, did not lead to an economically robust and growing America, one safer abroad in a more secure world, and more cohesive, united, and stable at home — at least if that truly was the leftist agenda rather than the more hushed opposite goal of more equal but poorer Americans, America as just another nation among many, and a cultural revolution aimed at accentuating rather than assimilating race, class, and gender identities.

We shall see if the subsequent Antidote Two, of unregretful conservatism under Trump, will provide what conservatism has always promised: greater prosperity, security, and unity…

We shall see, indeed.

I don’t really know what to make of President Trump. Like most of you, I backed someone (anyone!) else in the GOP primaries. I resigned myself – after flirting with Never Trump – to voting for Trump as the only viable alternative to the absolute horror-show that a second Clinton Administration would be. I expected, in the unlikely event of his victory, that he’d do a few Conservative things, but also do a few liberal things…all in the name of a bi-partisan effort to “Make America Great Again”. And I expected the Conservative things to mostly be about cutting taxes and building up the military…I expected a slew of squishes to be appointed to the Courts and some flings with liberal social issues. I never expected Donald Trump – Donald Freaking Trump, Manhattan billionaire and one-time Playboy – to adhere to such a strictly Conservative line on all issues. Even in his expressed opinions on dope and same sex marriage, it really comes down to a defensibly Conservative principle of deferring to States’ Rights on such matters. For a Conservative, there is nothing in Trump’s first year to be upset with – second year does seem to promise some sort of infrastructure bill…but even there, I’m getting the distinct impression that if we’re going to flash the cash at such, Trump will make sure its used for things that will be useful to the nation…unlike Obama’s stimulus bill, we might get a bridge, a dam and a Moon shot out of Trump’s deficit spending. Not Conservative, but at least not something as stupid as bike paths or “cash for clunkers”, right?

Is Donald Trump a Conservative? He might be. Remember, his wife’s Catholic…and maybe, third time’s the charm, he’s actually learned the lesson all wise men eventually learn: do what your wife tells you to do. Sure, Melania Trump has a bit of a past…but anyone who knows Catholics (or any real Christians of any sort) knows that this is no hang up: all saints have a past, all sinners have a future. Maybe she’s moving him towards the right on social issues while his natural, businessman inclinations, are towards the right on economic matters? Who can know? All I do know is that I’m getting more Conservatism than I’ve had since January 20th, 1989. I like it.

And as Hanson points out, we’re getting a fair test: after eight years of Obama, we’re going to get four to eight years of Trump…and if we Conservatives are even half right in our ideals, then the Trump years will blow the Obama years out of the water. It’ll be undeniable, if it works (of course it will) that the proper way to go is low tax, low regulation, States Rights, individual liberty…we won’t have to struggle against a false, Progressive Narrative anymore because everyone will know that what we say is the way to go. And I think, deep down, this is what the Progressives and the overall Establishment fear the most…that it will be shown that we do better with less intrusive government and free markets. That we don’t need an Obama to lecture us on “who we are”. And that will simply kill them…they’ll hate living in a world where we don’t need them, or even so much as care what they think.

We Need to Rethink Conservative Strategy

My wife was reading the news and came across an item and I heard her mumble to herself, “why are they cutting the top tax rate, idiots”. Now, to you and me who are long time Conservatives, we know precisely why: lowering the top marginal rate spurs growth and thus, ultimately, leads to more revenue for the government. But to someone like my wife, who despises politics, it was just a dumb give-away to people who already have quite enough. You have two ways to go with this:

1. Call my wife stupid (I advise against it, but you do you) and try to hammer her into believing that cutting rich people’s taxes is a good idea or…

2. Understand for regular folks who don’t pay close attention that in a political sense, cutting taxes on rich people is not going to be popular. Ever.

Abraham Lincoln advised that a widespread belief, whether well- or ill-founded, cannot lightly be set aside. You can, with patience, set yourself to the task of educating people into your views, but while they have the views, all you can do is work with them to advance as much of your cause as you can. Another example of where Conservatives, who are right, will still run afoul of the people is in the matter of the minimum wage. You and I know that the minimum wage, itself, is one of the dumbest ideas ever created in economics – that all it does is price low-skill, entry-level workers out of the labor market. We can explain this until we are blue in the face and it won’t get us anywhere…average folks just figure that if a person is working, it should be for a wage they can live on. The folks are going to look at it in terms of, “could I live on $8.25 and hour?”, and there answer is going to be a flat “no”, and so they’ll think that paying someone that much per hour just isn’t right.

I bring this up not in order to urge us to abandon Conservatism, but in order that we might understand that there are some brick walls we’re up against and we’re going to have to adjust our playbook to work our way around or over them. That is, we have to play the game on the field that exists, not the field that we might prefer. And it’s not just we who have this problem: our Progressive friends do as well. They have a whole host of ideas which are not remotely popular but they are determined to enact come heck or high water (in this, we have the advantage: more of our policies are actually popular than Progressives policies are). They, too, have to work their way around the widespread beliefs of the people. They do it by lies and disgusting political tricks. As we have a sense of honor, we can’t do it that way…but we still have to lean new ways of doing things.

What our Never Trump, Fredo-Cons don’t get is that we’re not going to have anything Conservative if all we’re doing is quoting the Founders and arguing for lower taxes. First off all, taxes and the Constitution are not the crux of the matter. We’ve seen even Progressives agree to lower tax rates from time to time and we’ve especially seen over the previous eight years that the Constitution is utterly meaningless to them. Additionally, as long as their unconstitutional actions don’t immediately harm the mass of the people, the people will not rise up against them (they did screw up with Obamacare – shoving it through unconstitutionally wasn’t fatal to them, however…what was fatal is that the bloody thing didn’t work, not even half-work like Social Security does). In order for us to have anything – to leave any semblance of America to those who will be alive 100 years from now – we on the right are going to have to get very smart about how we take on issues which matter to the people.

Think about it like this – if the Republican Party were to cut taxes across the board except that on people who make more than $1,000,000.00 per year, the top marginal rate was going to 40%, then we’d win the tax debate in a walk-over. All we would have done is move the top rate four tenths of a percent higher and on income which is 120% higher than now. The top marginal rate today is 39.6% and it kicks in at $400,000.00 per year. Even the highest income earners would get relief because there’s $600,000.00 more in yearly income which would be at a lower rate than now but we on our side would be able to say, “see, we’re making the rich pay their ‘fair share'”.

Let’s raise the minimum wage to $16.00 per hour – with an allowance for companies of less than 100 employees to deduct on taxes, dollar for dollar, each dollar over $8 per hour. It makes us in favor of a “living wage” without putting an undue burden on small to mid-sized companies (larger companies can carry the freight).

Yes, I realize that all of this is based upon a false understanding of pure, free-market economics. But, what are you going to do? Tell a blue collar worker in Michigan that the rich guy has to pay less in taxes than he does, now? Tell people that they don’t need a higher wage?

The bottom line is that we’re in a crisis in this nation. We’ve got schools failing to teach kids to read but filling their minds with Progressive garbage. We’ve got a popular culture which relentlessly and mercilessly attacks basic human decency. We’ve got a Ruling Class which is corrupt to the bone and willing to sell us out to anyone, foreign or domestic. The institution of the family is under attack. Religion is being forced to prove itself worthy of being allowed to exist. Fifty more years of this, and there won’t be an America left to conserve. We’ve simply got to get power and keep it, for a long time. And we can’t obtain and retain power unless we’re offering something to the people which is of immediate, tangible benefit to them. Remember, the people are generally on our side on the matters of faith, family and property – only Progressive lunatics want to destroy faith and family and take away everyone’s property. They don’t dare campaign on that because they know their vote would drop to 20% if they did. We can’t beat something with nothing – we’ve got to bring something to the table.

Trump did – in 2016, he promised tangible things to the people. Yes, tax cuts were included – people do like their taxes cut, they are just less enthused about taxes being cut for people who make more than they do. But he also offered to bring back the jobs that Obama and the Fedo-Cons said weren’t coming back. He promised us a border wall…which is actually supported by a far larger segment of the Latino population than the MSM wants anyone to know. He promised to drain the swamp – and the people, correctly, view our government as hopelessly corrupt. What Trump didn’t promise us was that he was going to ensure that the 4th Amendment was going to be enforced just as the Founders envisioned. He’s enforcing it like that, but that wasn’t part of his sales campaign for the Presidency (and every political campaign is, at bottom, a sales campaign). You see? Promise what the people want, and then in addition to that, do the other things which need to be done, but don’t necessarily have a huge political constituency behind them.

We’ve got Trump in, now. He’s beset by enemies trying to annul the 2016 election. They may succeed: time will tell. But our fight was, is and remains to obtain and retain power for as long as we can. The longer our people are in charge the more likely our total program will be enacted. Give us 20 years of uninterrupted GOP government and we’ll have saved our nation. By the time the Democrats get back in after that, it’ll be too late for them to undo what we’ve done. It took the Progressives 80 long years to get us to where we are…because no one really wanted anything they were selling, so they have to go slow and disguise their real goals. We don’t have to do that – we can say with pride what our goal is: a people free, secure and able to do with their own as they wish. We can turn the clock back a lot faster than the Democrats pushed it forward…and turn it back in such a manner that it is increasingly difficult for them to get rolling again.

The key is power – we must have it. Having it means that we can’t be pie-in-the-sky purists on policy. We have to tailor our desires to what the people want at the moment. Never abandoning the goal and, indeed, never actually compromising it…but by weaving together what is possible with what is best, moving the ball forward, day after day.