The Conservative movement is fraying about the edges as an internal argument alternately simmers and rages as to what is “Conservatism.” Or “Conservativism,” depending.
That’s a very good thing. It’s something the American left, and the Democrat Party, don’t have. The ovine drones who fill the ranks of their movement take marching orders without question from the top — two different tops.
The leadership of the left take their orders from Academia, Hollywood and pop culture, while Democrat Party members and voters take their orders from the Democrat Party leadership. They do very little, if any, questioning of those orders, and there’s practically no objection whatsoever when the leadership defenestrates anyone seen as a heretic. (Pro-life former Gov. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, for example.)
Try to imagine the last time you heard an intelligent response from a Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton supporter, as to why he supports one or the other. It’s all: “Well, he cares about people,” or, “She cares about the little guy,” or “She’s a woman,” or “He’ll give us free education.” It’s all codswallop.
In the Conservative movement, we’re constantly asking ourselves: What, in light of this or that changing circumstance, constitutes a good Conservative?
As I’ve mentioned hundreds of times in these pages, that means our thinking is young, robust, vigorous, energetic … exercised. While the thinking on the left is fat, flaccid, flabby, old, tired, long discredited.
Go ahead: try to find a dime’s worth of difference between the speeches of Sanders and Clinton from those of their 1960’s radical selves. There isn’t any such difference to find.
With all that intellectual ferment, we Conservatives have a problem. We’re not good at expressing ourselves effectively. We have complicated ideas and rationales built on long logic chains that stretch back through an intellectual minefield of exploded misconceptions and discarded, once-promising premises. How does one distill that for the general public who’s just trying to get from day-to-day in the mucked-up world the left has given them?
Well, the great Kevin Williamson doesn’t have that problem. In this masterpiece of an essay (in the still great National Review), Williamson does what we all should do: slam unsubtle sledge hammer-blow after sledge hammer-blow into the ramshackle, decayed, hollowed-out, rotted edifice that is American leftist thought.
Here are some gems from that piece:
Terry Shumaker, former U.S. ambassador to Trinidad (I wonder what that gig cost him) and current abject minion in the service of Mrs. Clinton, quotes Herself telling an audience in New Hampshire: “Service is the rent we pay for living in this great country.”
There is a very old English word for people who are required to perform service as a rent for their existence, and that word is serf. Serfdom is a form of bondage.
Yes, we have been saying this for some time now. Williamson just says it better.
He then immediately follows that up with:
Americans are not serfs. We are not sharecroppers on Herself’s farm or in vassalage to that smear of thieving nincompoopery in Washington that purports to rule us.
We don’t owe you any damned rent.
Bang! Wow! Wish I’d said that!
Here’s a bit more. It’s a one-two, one-two flurry that lands hard on the fat, flabby triple chin of leftist thought:
The American proposition is precisely the opposite of what Herself imagines: The U.S. government exists at our sufferance, not the other way around.(One!) We have governments because there are some things that we as individuals have a hard time doing through private enterprise (Two!), and we have a federal government because there are things that the several states cannot manage separately(One!), such as national defense and border security. (And, bang-up job on the latter, Washington.)(Two!)
If you ever wonder why there’s a “government” — specifically the one we have — when it seems as though all it ever does is get in the way, you could always refer to that paragraph and have an excellent high-level understanding.
Here’s some more from this great essay by Williamson. It’s another flurry of punches, this time to the soft, flabby, drooping, sagging belly of the enervated old sow that is today’s leftist thought:
Herself’s invocation of serfdom is the logical extension of “You Didn’t Build That”-ism, the backward philosophy under which the free citizen is obliged to justify his life and his prosperity to the state(an-a-One!), in order to satisfy the economic self-interest, status-seeking, and power-lust of such lamentable specimens as Elizabeth Warren, a ridiculous little scold who has never done a single useful thing in her entire public life(an-a-Two!). The American model is precisely the opposite: Government has to justify itself to us(an-a-One!). The states created the federal government, not the other way around, and the citizens created the states, not the other way around.(an-a-Two!)
We don’t owe these jackasses any service(another One!). They owe us service: services they routinely fail to perform(another Two!). We’ve got jihadis shooting up California while the government doesn’t even bother to track visa overstays or properly scan entrants from Pakistan by way of Saudi Arabia (because what could possibly go wrong in that scenario?)(Pow!) in spite of being legally obliged to do so. Instead, the powers that be in Washington are literally masturbating the day away when they aren’t busy poisoning veterans to death with dope.
(And now for the haymaker! –>) These people—these people—are going to lecture us on citizenship? How about you skip the homilies and do your damned jobs?
Whew! Wish I’d said all that!
Finally, Williamson sums it all up, with a serious truth that we all should know … and defend:
Of course Americans perform service: in our families, in our churches, in civic organizations, through charity. We serve because we believe in it, not because we have to justify our consumption of O2 to some despicable low-rent Lady Macbeth who is so keenly aware of her own profiteering and corruption that she violated a stack of federal statutes to keep her work correspondence away from proper oversight. We may be called to justify ourselves before God one day, but not before that.
Herself imagines the United States of America to be a nation of serfs. Whom do you think she imagines as their overlord?
And that is why any sane and self-respecting country would have kept this woman far away from any public office, much less let her flirt with the presidency.
This has long been a pet concept of ours. In a previous post in these pages, we indicated that people like Bill Gates have “given back“(1) far, far more than useless political hacks — or “ridiculous little scolds” — like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Let’s face it: the government’s only ability to help consists of the extent to which it decides to get in or out of our way. If it gets in our way a whole lot — as it does now — then it’s a huge drag on prosperity and dynamism. If it gets out of the way, then it’s simply less of an impediment to everyone’s success.
Needless to say, we’ve said nearly exactly what Williamson said in the very last paragraph. We said it like this (here):
Seriously: Why haven’t the media laughed Hillary right out of the Presidential campaign? … They’d do it to any Republican candidate.
Williamson just says it better.
(1) Gates’ efforts have employed probably at least 300 million people, if not more, in real, solid, important jobs. Family-supporting jobs. The irony is that Gates, like his other hyper-wealthy buddy, Warren Buffett — supports policies and thinking that would prevent any other Gateses or Buffetts from rising.