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.

True, There Never Was a Golden Age, but….

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Small town Arizona

I enjoy looking through the books other faculty require as reading at the university where I teach–it gives me a sense of the focus of their classes and the gist of the material taught in a particular class. One day I found a book on the 1950s, arguing that it was not a “golden age” for family life, and that families had severe problems then as they do now. My first response was to say to myself, “No kidding.” Only a fool would think that the 1950s or any other decade was some kind of “Golden Age” that bypassed human frailties. Marriages had problems in the 1950s, some spouses were abused as well as some children, and some families were dysfunctional. However, apart from these obvious facts, and apart from useful advances in technology and medicine since the 1950s, it does appear that, despite its flaws, that decade was the last true “Era of Good Feeling” in the United States. It was also the last decade in which a generally Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic was dominant in American thought, even among most Roman Catholics and Jews. Although divorce was sometimes necessary in extreme circumstances of physical and/or emotional abuse or serial adultery, in most cases divorce was frowned upon. Although the Hollywood set would get abortions as well as others, abortion was recognized as a grave moral evil. Only a small minority disagreed. Premarital sex occurred, of course, and the hypocritical aspects of 1950s sexual mores are well known, but at least there was an ideal that the wedding night would be a special beginning of  a new life between two people that is sealed by their first act of sexual intercourse. More extended families existed, especially in the South, the Midwest, and (as is still the case today) in the Italian-American community. Although people moved, outside of the military or of upper business management, extensive moving was rare. The new suburbs, for a time, retained the notion of a “neighorhood” with cookouts and regular visits between neighbors. Small town life, though declining, still flourished in many parts of the country. Alcoholism was a problem, as was always the case, but extensive use of hard drugs such as heroin was rare outside some inner city neighborhoods. There was a growing problem with juvenile crime, but most teenaged social life was tame by today’s “standards.” Although conformity was sometimes taken to an extreme, there was a strong sense that the older generation felt a responsibility to rear a virtuous younger generation. Perhaps the “greatest generation” did not understand the degree to which easy access to material things would create the spoiled and self-serving whiners of the mid-1960s onward, but most tried to rear their children with high moral values. My parents told me that at least in the 1950s a person knew whom he could trust. Today, they said, it is difficult to trust anyone.

The “Great Society” and the destruction of underclass society which arose through their dependency on federal aid, was in the future. The vast majority of children, white and black, were born in stable two-parent homes. A strong work ethic permeated most of American society.

This is not to say that the 1950s did not have deep flaws–struggles over race and the threat of nuclear war, for example. However, I would have rather lived in that kind of culture rather than the upside down world of 2012, in which people “call evil good and good evil” and Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of values” took place, though not in the direction of the Homeric virtues as Nietzsche desired. Christian culture is rapidly declining in influence, with a new breed of young secularists coming into view who, as Rush Limbaugh (who is right on this point) notes are both desirous of a government “nanny state” to take care of their physical needs while at the same time desiring that the government let them “do their thing” regarding gay marriage, abortion, and other “choices” they deem “personal.” The rapidity of the decline in American character since the 1950s has been astounding. In my own lifetime the world has turned upside down, to the delight of the anti-Christian left and to the chagrin of the few traditionalists standing against the plague of barbarism overwhelming the country.

No generation is unfallen. Yet most members of the 1950s generation would admit when they did wrong. They might do bad things anyway, but they understood them to be morally wrong. Today people strut immoral activity without believing it to be immoral. Academia has been part of the fuel for the fire of relativism, but it is, ironically, an absolutist relativism that denies traditionalists their right to express their views. The universities have become cesspools of relativism, Marxism, and a stifling politically correct orthodoxy. At least in the 1950s, faculty had academic freedom to express their views. Traditional conservatives may have been a small minority, but they were not censored. The university was generally a place of open discussion of ideas rather than the cesspool of radical orthodoxy it has become now.

It is too late to go back–the United States as I knew it as a child is dying. The sense of anomie I and other traditionalists feel has driven some to emigrate from the country and others to retreat to enclaves of like-minded people. In the 1950s I would have felt at home. Even in the 1980s there seemed to be hope for the future. Now I feel like a stranger in a strange land, and I am sure many other people do as well. There are times I want to go back to my grandparents’ house where my parents lived with my sister and I from 1965-1969 and enjoy the simplicity of it all before the madness of the 1960s froze into place in the 1970s. It may be a good thing for Christians, for it forces us to focus on God as the only One who is eternal, the only One who does not change. Going back to the past is pointless–traditionalists have lost the culture. We can trust in God, try to live good moral lives and be good examples to others, be active in church, and enjoy visits with like-minded people without isolating ourselves from the larger society. We know that God will triumph in the end, but until then, we wait “with earnest expectation” for Christ to come.

 

O’Donnell is Right on Church and State

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Cover of "The Naked Public Square: Religi...

Cover via Amazon

So Christine O’Donnell denies that separation of church and state is in the Constitution, and a law school audience gasps at her “gaffe.” Besides being another confirmation of my negative opinion of the legal profession, this is a good opportunity for going over the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” on religion. Just what does the clause say?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

I don’t see the words “separation of church and state.” Enough Supreme Court justices, from Hugo Black onward, imagined that those words were there, and through their vivid imaginations they ruled that the First Amendment meant “separation of church and state.” For those who follow in the footsteps of Justice John Marshall and support the tyranny of the federal court system, this is the end of the matter. Those individuals with more critical minds will ask whether the original intent of the Founders was to separate church and state. Now the deist Thomas Jefferson referred to “a wall of separation between church and state,” but that is not in the constitution. What the First Amendment does is forbid an established church such as the established churches still found in some European countries. It also allows freedom of religious expression. There is no justification in the Constitution for what the later Father Richard John Neuhaus called “the naked public square,” that is, the public realm stripped of all religion. Atheists and secularists, who often time are more haters of God than nonbelievers in God, have erotic dreams about removing religion totally from the public square, as if their position is truly a “neutral” position. Their position is not neutral; rather it is positively secularist and anti-religious in orientation. This was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Many of them were deists, true, but they still believed that a religious populace was a necessary check on rabid individualism that could lead to moral chaos.

O’Donnell’s critics will say “The Constitution means what the Courts say it means.” I cannot argue with people who support judicial tyranny. And for postmodernists who deny that there is any meaning to any text other than what the reader says the text means, I have no rational arguments to use against people who are fundamentally irrational.  Although I’m not the biggest fan of Rush Limbaugh, there is one statement he says that makes lots of sense: “Words mean things.” Words are not arbitrary in meaning, and that includes the words of the Constitution. The fact that judges have read into its words things that are not there does not change the fact that the Constitution has an original meaning. And that meaning does not include “separation of church and state.”