233 years and counting

As of tomorrow, this nation has managed to remain (mostly) free of tyranny for 233 years. This is a remarkable feat. Given how fast the world has changed in the last century, it is even more remarkable. What we experience and take for granted now is nothing like what we had even ten years ago, much less fifty or a hundred.

But here we are. And many of us – especially those who consider themselves conservative or libertarian – are worried. In the last six months under President Obama we have seen incredible expansion of government power, spending, and influence in private business. The headlines seem ripped from an Orwellian or Randian novel – government takeovers of big business, closing down political enemies, while the best and brightest withdraw to avoid increasingly harsh taxes and penalties. This too, is nothing like we have seen – in the history of the country. And historically, we see that it is inevitable that every free country will eventually fall to tyranny. So we wonder – will these latest changes be the last straw? How much longer can we hold out?

I say, it doesn’t matter. For as long as there’s a shred of hope, we have to fight on for what we believe and for freedom in this country. Without that attitude being held by our forefathers, these would still be American colonies. And we must realize that though they may take a new form, the challenges we face are really nothing new.  As Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” And as was recently pointed out to me, the real issues are often masked by politics – what we are struggling against is not (merely) a different set of politics; it is a different set of worldviews. These worldviews are what gave us the mess we’re in now – Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are just symptoms.

Politics flows from the worldview of the culture – not the other way around. And so if you want to change politics, you will be much more assured of victory by changing the culture spawning the politicians than trying to convince the existing politicians to change their stripes. Changing the culture seems to be a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as you might think – every customer you greet, every corporate meeting, every church dinner and game night is a chance to influence those around you. Culture is nothing more than the views and interests of the people who create it – and by influencing those people, one at a time, you influence the culture as a whole. It was not until culture changed that politicians addressed the issues of slavery, of civil rights, of abortion, and most recently gay marriage.

Every shift in culture puts pressure on the government to react in order to hold on to the power that it has – so it is there that we will fight the battles. It is there that the war for this nation will be won or lost – in the hearts and minds of every American.

So now it’s your play. Ball’s in your court. What are you going to do? Who are you going to influence?

Sobering truth

Fearsome Comrade, the latest addition to the blogroll, has a sobering (albeit pessimistic) view on what the Republicans will really do, should they manage to wrest back Congress from the Democrats:

The problem with Republicans is that few of them understand why they win or why they lose elections. They never credit conservatism for their victories and always blame it for their defeats.

I don’t see the Party changing. I think that Republicans are by nature weak and doubtful of the strength of conservative ideas. They are extremely prone to thinking that liberalism is what people want, even when a liberal wins an election by pretending to be a conservative. They look at Democrats as the cool kids on the playground that everyone likes, and see themselves as the dorks that can only win friends by giving away all their Fruit Roll-Ups and doing the cool kids’ homework.

I hope he’s wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

Thanks George

Via Michelle: this is why, for those of you who are still unclear, conservatives can’t get on board with saying Bush was a good president – as explained by our current Lunatic-in-Chief:

“It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question,” he told reporters, who had interviewed the president aboard Air Force One on Friday.

“I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. It wasn’t on my watch. And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement -– the prescription drug plan — without a source of funding. And so I think it’s important just to note when you start hearing folks throw these words around that we’ve actually been operating in a way that has been entirely consistent with free-market principles and that some of the same folks who are throwing the word ’socialist’ around can’t say the same.”

So, thanks for giving him an excuse. It’s nice to know that the country’s most expensive screwup ever, which was orchestrated and passed by Democrats, will have a little R-shaped apostrophe next to it. That said, Obama sure loves pointing fingers at everyone else, doesn’t he?

Steele – not ready, not willing, not able

Via Michelle Malkin comes this Mark Steyn article on why the Michael Steele debacle is so bad:

Kathryn, in all the Rush-bashing, I was more disturbed by Michael Steele’s wretched performance. His initial reaction — that Rush’s show is “incendiary” and “ugly” — revealed:

a) that he never listens to it;

b) that he takes his cues from the mainstream media


In two brief soundbites, Mr. Steele has managed to suggest to his own party base that he has a lazy disposition that reflexively shares the liberal biases, and to allow the wider world to portray him as a craven squish. This is not encouraging. At the very minimum, he does not appear ready for primetime.

This shows that not only is he apparently a moron, but he is also out-of-touch and spineless. How could someone who is supposedly in charge of the party claiming conservatism never have bothered to listen to a three hour radio show that influences is listened to by over twenty million of his party’s constituents? And even if he hadn’t, he didn’t have the guts to admit his error, or even stand up for the principles of the man he was deriding.

Instead, he used all the buzzwords that the “drive by media” likes to use against Limbaugh, and then quickly apologized for being unintentionally offensive in using them after the aforementioned constituency started to get irritated about it. So he first proves himself clueless, and then backs it up with spinelessness.

Not ready for primetime? Mark, you’re understating it. The man is a liability.

On Bobby Jindal

I’ve found the blogosphere’s collective reaction to Bobby Jindal’s rebuttal speech the other night rather surprising in many ways – and sadly expected in others.  The responses seem to fall in three major groups:

  1. Allahpundits – Could just as easily be named after LGF, but I’ve already poked that bear once this week. These are the conservatives who reacted strongly in a negative way to Jindal’s response, often reacting negatively to Jindal himself for various reasons (chiefly his pro-ID stance or strong orthodox Catholicism, from what I have seen). They criticize his form or his beliefs while generally (sometimes reluctantly) praising his content.
  2. Dittoheads – The Rush Limbaugh types who love what he said and don’t care how he said it. They see Jindal as the next coming of Reagan, the Conservative counterpart to Barack Obama. Rush praised Jindal on his show, going so far as to say that “I don’t want to hear from you ever again if you think that what Bobby Jindal said was bad or what he said was wrong or not said well, because, folks, style is not going to take our country back.”
  3. Liberals – Hated on Jindal for his politics, beliefs, race, and everything else you can think of. From Chris Matthews’ “oh god” and “outsourcing” comments to Paul Begala’s “kook right” cracks, backed by endless commenters decrying him as simply the GOP’s attempt to play the race card (hello, Michael Steele) – we see the seething leftist masses decrying the Lousiana governor simply for opening his mouth to challenge the Annointed One.

And then there’s me. I fall somewhere between the first two points, but leaning more toward the Dittohead crowd – Jindal’s otherwise-brilliant performance was tarnished by a slightly wooden demeanor. I think he was trying too hard to play to the crowd, or as Ace put it, “channel his inner Bubba.”  He, like Mitt Romney, cannot pull this off successfully, and comes off as fake when trying to do so. Instead, he should be allowed to present himself as who he is – a somewhat stiff intellectual, who is also brilliant and insightful. Conservatism is not about appeals to emotion – appealing to what feels good is practically the definition of liberalism – but it must be communicated effectively. Reagan is remembered as great not because he made people feel warm and fuzzy, but because he made smart choices and then communicated them effectively, while not compromising his position. This is the conservatism that the GOP needs to rediscover if it wants to succeed.

Ed Morrisey has his appearance on the Today show the day after the rebuttal speech. Here, he is engaged in a discussion where he provides quick, confident, specific answers and facts and appears confident and passionate. This is Jindal at his best. Unlike Sarah Palin, who excelled at getting in front of a crowd and getting them hyped up in a rah-rah style of enthusiasm, but didn’t appear confident when having to quickly shift gears (especially with a hostile interviewer), Jindal is much better one-on-one where he can directly react and respond to the other party. He is analytical and quick on his feet when taking questions or even attacks, and is able to respond strongly and effectively. It is for this reason that I would like to see a ticket along the lines of Jindal/Palin for 2012 – a strong, focused, extremely intelligent leader at the top of the ticket, with a powerful supporting figure who can energize and relate more effectively supporting the ticket. While I don’t know where these politicians will be in three years – or if Palin can recover from her “Quayling” – it will be interesting to see what happens next.