The Republican Leadership Deserves Only Contempt

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English: Crude drawing of the "No RINO&qu...

English: Crude drawing of the “No RINO” buttons used by American Republicans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reaction of mainstream Republicans to Mr. Romney‘s claim that Mr. Obama’s campaign was based on promises of gifts to people by the government may as well have been the reaction of Democrats. Mr. Romney, as well as Rush Limbaugh who referred to “Obama Claus,” were roundly condemned by the majority of Republicans who spoke up. Mr. Limbaugh is correct when he says that the Republicans are trying to get a piece of the vote of those people dependent on the government. As he recognizes, this is a pipe dream.

Republicans have degenerated into the party that says, “We’ll keep the programs the Democratic Party offers, but we will cut funds programs so they will financially survive in the future.” Americans tend not to think about the future. The typical young American today looks at the present and how to gain as much pleasure in life with the least effort possible. If that means not getting a job and living off government welfare, so be it. Beneficiaries of federal welfare programs want their money and food stamps now, and they want as much money as possible now. The hell with future generations. These individuals live for today. Like the corrupt emperors of the later Roman Empire, Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party keep their power by giving the people “bread and circuses.” The Republicans are kidding themselves if they think that offering fewer bread and circuses for the good of abstract “future generations” will move the self-centered contemporary government dependent person one bit. Those Republicans who condemned Mr. Romney, such as Karl Rove and his fellow consultants, do not deserve to keep their jobs–there predictions of the outcome of the general election were among the most inaccurate since the “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline in 1948. After Mr. Jindal condemned Mr. Romney, I will not support him if he runs for the Republican nomination. If the Republican Party turns to the left on welfare, immigration, and social issues, I–and many other conservatives–will vote for a third party. Personally I am sick and tired of cowardly Republicans, some of which are not sincere about their alleged conservatism on social issues, giving ground on economic issues and immigration as well. Mr. Ron Paul was one example of a man of integrity who refused to compromise his convictions for the favor of liberals, the press, or Hollywood. Yet he only received a small percentage of the Republican vote in the primaries, and the Republican National Committee treated his delegates with disrespect, refusing to seat some of them at the Republican National Convention. Now some want to eliminate the Iowa Straw Poll because of the influence of Paul supporters. Keep up the good work, Republicans, and see how many conservatives vote Libertarian or Constitution Party next election–or just stay home.

Conservatives (and I am not talking about “Neoconservatives” who are, in effect, Neoliberals”) need to get their message across in the political realm while still realizing that politics is not the means to salvation. We must work to change people’s hearts–one person at a time. Needless to say, that means we should set a good example in our own lives. If one person, one family, one community at a time we can influence people to see the harm that liberalism does, we may make progress. Conservatives within the Republican Party should hold the line as much as possible, but if they are driven out, a viable third party coalition should be considered. Forget the Neocons and the Rockefeller “Country Club Republicans.” A coalition of social conservatives, traditional conservatives in the Russell Kirk vein, and some libertarians that are not mere libertines might be workable. Ron Paul reached out to different groups outside how own libertarian standpoint, especially on opposition to the American Empire–and this is a position to which American Conservatism should return. The Republicans are the party of empire, and the Democrats, being mainly Wilsonian, are the same. Surely some viable group of people willing to bring about real change can end a situation in which one party is only a pale shadow of the other. If the Republican Party wants to survive as a viable force in American life, it must get new leadership–conservative leadership and not wimps who back down from every attack from the predominately leftist press. The current Republican leadership deserves only contempt.

Voting Straight Republican in Academia

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English: A female African Bush Elephant raises...

English: A female African Bush Elephant raises her trunk as a warning sign in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Donkey Face

Yesterday I stood in line over an hour and a half to vote on the first day of early voting in North Carolina. I voted straight Republican, the first time I have voted straight party since 1984. The reaction of liberal academics when I tell them of my vote is interesting (and I admit I enjoy telling them to see their reaction). Most know me so they later laugh about it, but the initial reaction is something like “You’re an idiot.” That can be said in good fun by a true liberal, but the more dogmatic liberals who believe that “the political is the personal” are not saying that in good fun. They truly believe that anyone who votes right of center is either a fool, insane, or a moral reprobate. Now this attitude is not confined to the left–to be fair, I have been castigated in a personal way for not buying into Christian-Israelism or the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Yet overall I have found conservatives, other than a few rabid Neoconservatives, to be more open to disagreement and to discussion than academic liberals. Liberals in the arts also tend to be intolerant in my experience. I try to avoid saying anything political in a group of writers because their reaction makes hostile reactions by academics look like  a kiss on the cheek. Although I strongly disagree with my Democratic friends and family members, I do not consider them morally reprobate. I do believe that they should examine the economy and debt and carefully reconsider their position, but if they stick with the Democrats and with Mr. Obama I do not think less of them as persons. Most Republicans, except for some Evangelicals and the more dogmatic Neocons, react the same way. On the left, older liberals, the working class unionized liberals, may fuss and fume with me, but they will be happy to have a drink with me afterwards. Academic liberals, especially those who are Marxist (most, not all Marxists) tend to divide the world into the class of good left wingers and evil right wingers, and the politics becomes the personal. That is a shame since life is more than politics and people may have other things in common. Democrats have to eat, raise families, make it through everyday problems–and so do Republicans. We are all human beings worthy of respect and, as a Christian, I would say that we are all created in God’s image. Both Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives should get out of the trap of making politics so large in their lives that it becomes a lens to evaluate people’s morality or intelligence.

Why I am not a Democrat

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George McGovern, in Congress

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My granddaddy loved the Democratic Party. He always said “it is the party of the poor man while the Republicans are the party of the rich man.” He thought that FDR was the best president the U. S. ever had, appealing to WPA and Social Security as evidence. For many years in the South, the Democratic Party was the conservative party, and while it held some positions (on segregation, for instance) that were wrong, it also defended the Tenth Amendment regarding state’s rights–and I must agree with their view on that. Sending federal troops to the South, putting school boards under dictatorial federal judges who imposed asinine social engineering schemes such as forced busing, were abuses of power by the federal government. Better to use persuasion in a grassroots movement to encourage a change in people’s attitudes than to send in the 101st Airborne. Those in power could have been pressured by a grassroots movement to end segregation from within the individual states–with enough pressure, they would probably have given in, segregation laws abolished, and race relations would have been better than they are today.

Republicans had no problem abusing federal power, especially liberal Republicans in the North. The Republican Party had historically been the party of corporate welfare, and had formed an unholy alliance with railroads and with banks in the nineteenth century. It was the Republicans who forced states, which would have been almost universally considered to be sovereign just a few decades before, into the federal fold using U. S. military forces, with the attendant loss of over 600,000 lives.

There were some liberal democrats in the South in the 1950s–Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee is a good example–but even the liberals of that time period accepted the Judeo-Christian ethic that had been dominant in the United States since the Second Great Awakening. Except for a few radicals, abortion was wrong, and no one would have dreamed of supporting same-sex marriage. Even with the expansion of federal power and the government’s use of the military against the states, the federal budget was relatively small as well as the number of federal employees. The budget was balanced three times during the Eisenhower administration.

Then came the 1960s with the spoiled baby boomers calling for a radical transformation of society. These radicals gained control of the Democratic National Convention when it nominated Senator George McGovern (who seems almost moderate by today’s standards) for president. The Democratic Party became the party of radical social change, advocating abortion rights, looser rules concerning the family unit, and, more recently, same-sex marriage. It also extended the federal welfare system immensely, especially during Lyndon Johnson’s administration. This in turn helped to expand a permanent underclass, leading to more money being spent on welfare, leading more people to become dependent on the system. It became a vicious cycle.

The Democratic and Republican parties “switched” in the South, especially after the old George Wallace voters voted for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 presidential primaries. He almost the Republican nomination from Gerald Ford that year. In 1980, the trend continued, and over time, the Republican Party moved to the right at the same time the Democratic Party shifted radically to the left. Republicans were not always true to their promises, unfortunately, but to many voters, including me, they were the “lesser evil” to voting for a liberal Democrat. There are a few conservative Democrats around, and I will vote for one from time to time. Now, though, almost all my votes are for Republicans, with an occasional foray into voting for a Libertarian.

Why am I not a Democrat? Because:

(1) Most Democrats believe in nearly unlimited abortion rights–and I believe abortion to be murder. It is difficult for me to vote for someone who believes that it is morally acceptable for a mother, with the help of her “doctor,” to murder her own unborn child (and to someone who claims Catholic identity who told me an unborn child was not a child, my message is, “You are an utter hypocrite to call yourself Catholic).

(2) Democrats have generally supported radical social changes such as same-sex marriage, something I believe to be an affront to natural law and something that will be, long term, destructive to society.

(3) Democrats have, for the most part, supported social engineering schemes such as forced busing of schoolchildren.

(4) Most Democrats continue to support an overly large welfare system. They also have the idea that they can spend themselves out of any economic crisis. The United States will never recover from its debt given the amount of money the Democratic Obama Administration has spent.

(5)  The Democratic Party engages in race, sex, and class warfare. Many Democrats falsely accuse those who oppose the party’s policies on welfare, for example, of racism. Many Democrats love to stir up racial strife it can help the party with the minority groups in its voting base. The Party supports the most radical measures of certain feminists, supporting unlimited abortion and the continual disempowerment of men. The Party seems to think that “taxing the rich” will solve all our problems, although if the government seized all money from the rich it would only make a drop in the deficit.

(6) When Democrats could do some good and stand up to the warmongering Neoconservatives in both parties, the majority of Democrats  fail and end up supporting unnecessary wars just as much as Republicans (this is my biggest beef with the Republican Party).

(7) Many Democrats are hostile to traditional Christianity. They do all they can to remove traditional Christianity from the “public square.”

I get frustrated with both parties. I do not remember who wrote in Chronicles magazine that politics in the United States consists of the “Stupid Party” (Republicans) and the “Evil Party” (Democratic). He went on to say when they compromise one gets “stupid evil.” Given my choice between the alternatives, I would rather support stupidity rather than support evil. That is why in the presidential election between Bush and Kerry, I voted Libertarian, since I believe that both the Iraq War and the U. S. use of torture was evil. I am not duty-bound to the Republican Party–but I cannot be a Democrat unless the party makes a 180 degree turn to the Right–and that is not going to happen.

Obama and the Patriot Act

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Rand Paul campaigning in Kentucky.

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President Obama has signed an extension of the worst surveillance procedures of the Patriot Act. No records of a private citizen are safe from government intrusion. I commend Senator Rand Paul for standing up for liberty. Between Democrats who by nature love the expansion of federal power, and Republican “Red State Fascists” who have no problem with the expansion of law enforcement power, what freedom the United States has left is eroding. We now have a government that can check anyone’s phone records, anyone’s internet records, and invade a person’s private life in a vain attempt to find potential terrorists. Defenders of the Patriot Act claim it would only be used against people suspected of terrorism, but history shows when the government can do harm to the innocent, it will. Sadly, most people will go along with losing their freedom for an ephemeral security that they will never have this side of heaven. The public’s fears of terrorism are constantly used by the federal government to justify expansion of power in a world where a person is more likely to die of a myriad of diseases and accidents, as well as domestic homicide, than by terrorism. The media as a whole, “conservative” or liberal, supports the Patriot Act, and many Americans are stooges of the media. Government schools have failed to teach them critical thinking skills, and the decline of classical rhetoric classes in high school and college/university education keeps the public unaware of the government and media’s manipulative techniques. It is easy to become cynical and believe that the American people are getting the government they deserve. But the vote in the House was closer than the vote in the Senate, and this offers some hope that Rand and Ron Paul and his allies will be able to gain more support when the next renewal of the “Patriot Act” (talk about doublespeak!) comes before Congress. The actions of President Obama do not surprise me–he campaigned against the same provisions of the Patriot Act he now supports. He is a typical politician who says what he needs to say to gain power and then goes back on his promises when the election is over. To their credit, some liberals, such as Nat Hentoff (an honest man and a true civil libertarian), recognize this and have sharply criticized the president. Most of the rest, sadly, follow him like sheep. Maybe the American people will wake up; polls have revealed growing unease with the Patriot Act. The federal government has much more immediate power to harm the American people than terrorists–and Americans should keep that in mind.

The Republican Leadership and “Getting Along”

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Unofficial seal of the United States Congress

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Despite the clear message the majority of voters sent in November that they want government spending controlled and the size of government reduced, the Republican “leadership” insists on continuing the mistakes of the past. They are so concerned to be accepted by the media elites and to “get along” with the Democratic leadership that they have no problem compromising on basic principles. The Tea Party movement attempted to send a message to Congress, but unless the Tea Party freshmen make a stand against the wimpy, weak Republican leadership its electoral victories will come to naught. The recent extension of the Bush tax cuts is a good example. That extension included new spending that further increased the rapidly exploding budget deficit. The Republican leadership seems to have no problem being as eager as the Democrats to sell out the future of the United States for short-term “gains.” When the next Congress is sworn in and convenes, the Republicans had better take the voters seriously–cut government spending (even if Mr. Obama vetos bills) in both domestic and military spending (Republicans must stop being warmongers), reduce the size of government and the number of federal employees, repeal the freedom-denying provisions of the “Patriot Act,” and repeal the parts of the health care bill that entail a massive expansion of federal spending and an increase in size of the federal bureaucracy. The Republicans should not compromise on these issues no matter how much CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and ABC whine about “gridlock” in Congress. The majority of Americans will see through the obvious, open, and fundamentally dishonest bias of the mainstream media and will respect Republicans more for doing the right thing and standing up for the principle of limited government. If the Republican leadership continues the policies of the leadership of the past lame-duck Congress, and if the rest of the Republicans follow suit, they will deserve to lose in the next election–and the nation will deserve a strong third party that is firmly committed to limited government, lower federal spending, and removing the tentacles of the federal bureaucracy from the everyday lives of the American people.

Groupthink

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Americans pride themselves on their individualism, on their belief in personal autonomy and being subject to no outside authority but the self. What has saved the country so far has been the fact that individuals do no, in fact, live their lives this way–except for self-centered (pick the bad word of your choice). What is ironic is that the more Americans pride themselves on individualism, the more conforming they become. And those who whine the most about personal autonomy are those who insist that everyone else agree with them or else.

It has always been interesting when a young woman, for example, gets a nose ring, a navel ring, and God knows what else, believing that she is asserting her individuality. However, it often turns out that everyone in her peer group has rings in the same places. What begins as a “nonconformity” becomes a fad, and then becomes semi-institutionalized in peer groups. When I lived in Athens, Georgia twenty years ago, there was a group of ladies everyone called “Townies.” They dyed their hair jet black, dressed neatly in black, and appeared Goth-like, although I do not believe they were Goth. They all looked alike. How did Americans become such conformists in the name of nonconformity?

It is at the level of ideas that American groupthink becomes dangerous. Not questioning the war party in Washington, for example, helps politicians to bring the nation into needless wars with little public opposition. Or take abortion–in academia there is some opposition to abortion, but not among the vast majority of academics. The same is true of other traditional values–academics teach students to rebel against such values, yet academia is the most conforming setting in the world, where at some schools any deviance from the politically correct (translate “left wing”) norm is severely punished. At the very least, the person who accepts traditional morality will be labeled a “hater.” However, who is the real nonconformist–the academic who follows his fellow academic lemmings into the lake of liberalism or the academic who stands against the crowd. I laugh at liberal Christian academics who talk about being “prophetic” while living in their fine houses and driving their fine cars–they are about as conforming and unprophetic as one can imagine. The true prophet may be the lone student at a liberal seminary who stands against the crowd for orthodoxy. That student can pay a steep cost for speaking up. The academic theologian merely gets congratulated by his fellow academics: “Your message is so prophetic, man.” It is a disgusting sight.

Groupthink has been taught in colleges and universities by means of “sensitivity training,” and in the past, speech codes. While the speech codes were removed under pressure from the courts, de facto, at many schools, they still exist. A conservative in academia is a true noncomformist, standing against the dominant liberal crowd, especially in the Humanities, which is the most left-wing part of academia.

Academic conformists and conformists in tacky dress or tacky rings have one thing in common: they are all lemmings, blindly following their ideological or fashion leaders over a cliff.  It will be interesting to see how many of them can swim.

The Death of the Democratic Party

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Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

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By the “death” of the Democratic Party I don’t mean its literal demise, but its death, which occurred many years ago, as a party of Jeffersonian democracy. Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic Party was the party of states’ rights, farmers, small town businesses. The Whigs, and later the Republicans, were the party of the new industrialists, and under Lincoln became the party that combined big business with government subsidies. The Republicans also repudiated states’ rights and supported returning the southern Confederate States to the United States by force, resulting in 600,000 unnecessary deaths. To those who bring up slavery, my response is that slavery would have ended soon without a war. It had ended in most European countries by the time of the War between the States. There was a great deal of moral criticism of slavery in the South. In any case, the war was primarily about the right of succession and the sovereignty of states.

Several Supreme Court rulings in the 1870s saved the United States from becoming the ultra-centralized business-government state of which the Republicans dreamed, and Democrats such as Grover Cleveland kept the original vision of the Democratic Party. Even with the rise of the urban, more liberal, Democrats in the twentienth century, the tradition of Jeffersonianism was kept alive in the South. Liberals bring up civil rights, and I realize the risk of alternative history, but if the federal government had allowed the grassroots Civil Rights movement to work within the states to change their laws, the consciousness of enough good people would have been raised to force political and social change. Instead, the use of federal troops in Arkansas, the use of federally mandated forced busing, and federally mandated redistricting did a great deal to worsen what may have been a more peaceful and harmonious change to a more just society.

For all his faults, George Wallace was a significant spokesman for the old Jeffersonian view of states’ rights in 1972. With his shooting and with the extreme liberal George McGovern winning the Democratic nomination, the loss of the Democratic Party to Jeffersonianism was guaranteed. There are a few moderate Southern Democrats left, even after Tuesday’s shellacking of the “Blue Dogs,” but even the Blue Dogs were not traditional Jeffersonians. Neither are the conservative Republicans who now dominate Southern politics (with the exception of Ron Paul and perhaps Walter Jones), but at least they have a sense of the proper limitations of federal power. It is a good sign that some of the “Tea Party Movement” leaders are seriously discussing the Tenth Amendment, something that Republicans ignored from 1861 onward and Democrats run roughshod over now. The Democratic Party is dead. It is no longer what Jefferson had in mind when he founded it so long ago. Perhaps it should change its name. “Socialist Party” isn’t quite accurate; “Liberal Party” is an insult to old-fashioned Classical Liberals and Libertarians. I have thought “Whiners Party” might fit, since the Democrats so often take advantage of grievances in order to gain more federal power. How about “Centralized Government Party?” That is functionally accurate, at least, but isn’t really a catchy title. I’m open to suggestions.

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