Why I Do Not Identify With Conservatism

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In recent weeks I finished a book by John Lukacs entitled A New Republic: A History of the United States in the Twentieth Century. Sometimes it takes a naturalized foreigner to see things American-born citizens can’t or won’t see. From pp. 337-8 of the 2004 printing:

Here was a peculiarly American paradox: the liberals had become senile, while the conservatives were immature. Their intellectual – and moral – substance was not sufficient to fill the post-liberal vacuum. The reason for this was not the cultural inferiority of American conservatives when compared to American liberals: that was a condition that the conservative intellectual movement had, by and large, outgrown. The reason for this was the conservatives’ split-mindedness — suggesting that split-mindedness, too, was not a monopoly of American liberals. The conservatives argued against big government: yet they favored the most monstrous of government projects, laser warefare, biological warfare, nuclear superbombs. They were against the police state: yet they were eager to extend the powers of the FBI and the CIA. They were against government regulation of “free” enterprise: yet they supported at times the govermnent shoring up or bailing out large corporations. They stood for the conservation of America’s heritage: yet they were indifferent to the conservation of the American land. They proclaimed themselves to be the prime defenders of Western civilization: yet many of them had a narrowly nationalist, and broadly Californian, view of the world — narrow enough to be ignorant, broad enough to be flat. “I was a nationalist,” Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf about his youth, “but I was not a patriot.” So were, unfortunately, most American conservatives, unaware of the crucial difference (George Orwell described it in one of his prime essays) betwen the ideological nationalist and the true patriot: the former is moved by the desire to extend the power of his nation, the latter is moved by the love of his country. They were nationalist rather than patriotic: they put their nationalism above their religion, their nationalism was their religion. Thus American conservatives welcomed (at worst) or were indifferent (at best) to the dangers of excessive American commitments to all kinds of foreign governments or — what was more important — to the flooding of the United States by countless immigrants from the south who would provide cheap labor but whose increasing presence could only exacerbate deep national problems…The true patriot and the true conservative is suspicious of ideology, of any ideology: yet the American conservatives were, more than often, ideologues, disregarding John Adams’s pithy statement that  ideology amounted to idiocy. Their view of the world and their consequent advocacies of foreign policies were lamentable, since their view of the Soviet Union as the focus of a gigantic atheistic conspiracy and the source of every possible evil in the world was as unrealistic, unhistorical, ideological, and illusionary as the pro-Soviet illusions of the former liberals and progressives had been. Even though intellectuals of the American conservative movement were often more generous and less narrow-minded than were liberal intellectuals, they seldom hesitated to ally themselves with, and to seek the support of, some of the most uncouth and slovenly-minded people and politicians. That was just the trouble. As Jonathan Swift said, certain people “have just enough religion to hate but not enough to love.” Many American conservatives, alas, gave ample evidence that they were just conservative enough to hate liberals but not enough to love liverty.

Dick Cheney The Ol’ Neocon Bastard

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Compare the philosophic differences in the following quotes:

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart….Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

John Quincy Adams, 4 July 1821

As quoted recently by Dick Cheney:

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, “If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.”

One knows he is on the right track when neo-cons start up with their tired tirades. The two good things Obama has done in the last six years is to “end” our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and draw down the size of the Armed Forces. Regarding the latter, America has done so after every war before World War II. Yet after that war, we actually grew our military, to combat an imagined threat in the Cold War, thanks in part to Truman’s missteps and Ike’s missed opportunities to open up talks with the Soviets in the early-mid 1950’s.

Cheney seems to have forgotten that putting Iran into the Axis of Evil in the 2000’s nixed a reformist Iranian governmnet and brought Ahmadinejad to power. Does he also forget that Kuwait was carved out of Iraq by the British? Or that modern Near East states were created by the Allies post-World War I? How our loans to Saddam during the Iraq-Iran War collapsed an Iraqi economy that had been on the rebound before the war? That both reasons led Saddam to invade Kuwait? Does he remember we fed supplies and money into the Iraq-Iran war? Or what of Afghanistan – that we did the same to the Mujahideen and Taliban fighters to spite the Soviets?

Does Cheney, who views the surge with warm feelings because of its “success” understand it was necessary because Rumsfeld refused to understand the concept of invading with overpowering numbers? Would Cheney be able to honestly tell us he believes the American Way is not a cookie-cutter experience for all peoples in all places in all times? If not, I would suggest he read Orestes A. Brownson.

No, the clear evidence Dick Cheney sees he wrongly interprets. The world has not spoken any clearer in telling America to return to its Enlightenment principles. The world does not need another Imperal parent. Spurn Churchill’s desire and lay the British Empire to rest.

In Cheney’s view:

Tragically, [Obama] is quickly proving…that without American pre-eminence, there can be no world order.

As Marcus Aurelius tells Maximus in Gladiator, empire does not mean the end of war for there will always be someone left to fight. We should care to recall that the world was so ordered before America and will be so after America. What is world order other than individuals [nations] acting in their own best interests? Obama cannot be any more right in saying “[a]ny world order that elevates one nation above others cannot long survive.” As Brownson argues, America or any other nation, does not exist in and of itself, it exists as so Divinely created. Exclude the Divine to one’s own peril. What is peril other than to view one’s country as the benefactor of civilization and order?

I hope Dick Cheney’s march takes him straight to the insane asylum.

Cheney on the March

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Cheney on the March

He’s ba-ack.

Comment.  Please.

“Forbid Them Not”

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It’s insidious, really.  Our non-existent southern border is crisis enough, but now it involves children. What exactly is going on? Why are there tens of thousands of children crossing our borders?  Why is this happening at all, and why is it not headline news?  Why is Eric Holder waning philosophic about caring about the most vulnerable yet silence is palpable regarding what is causing this mass exodus from Central America?  A mass exodus of children.  How does a child get from El Salvador to Arizona?  They get there with help.  From who?  And why?  This isn’t a simple effort to get out of poverty.  This is a calculated effort.

Can it be as insidious as political ploy?  Can the children of Central America be the new slavery class?  Please tell me the big guys are not playing a game of chess with the backsides of children.

What, exactly, is going on?

It’s A Pleasure Indeed

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And an honour (spelling formal on introduction) to join The Republican in conversation.  May analysis begin.

A Quick Thought Of An Update

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It’s been a very intriguing year. There have been numerous times I began forming a post and then time got away from me. How exactly does one reply to all the year’s political happenings without sounding cliche or redundant?

Well, I found an excellent comment I simply couldn’t pass up.

From E Pluribus Chaos in reponse to this article:

If you like your constitutional rights, you can keep your constitutional rights. Period.

Oh, and John Boehner is now feeling safe enough after the GOP’s Goverment Letdown last month to call for a delay of Obamacare. Too bad he didn’t have the guts to keep the Shutdown-In-Name-Only going until the GOP got a delay or full repeal of the health care law. Then again, should we really expect someone who voted for the 2008 Bailout to have even the smallest cojones?

One For The Queers

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The decision leaves in place another provision in the law that says no state is required to recognize gay marriages performed in any other state. [Courtesy of the LATimes]

I must split with the faux-Conservative community regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act handed down today. I personally believe the law to have been un-Constitutional on two points. On account of the Tenth Amendment, the power to decide who can or cannot marry lies with each individual State. Whether Roberts et al agree with that or not, it is the correct way in which to adjudicate.

And, secondly, there is no such thing as the regulation of morality, which was the basic essence of DoMA. My working theory is the ceding of religious authority and personal morality over time to the governance of Modernism, which entails everything from Relativism to Darwinian Moralism, is the heart of the issue. But this is not the time to expand on that thought.

Regarding my stance on the regulation of morality, those more aligned with religious fundamentalism would disagree with me. They might say morality laws are necessary to slow the onslaught of social deviancy. Or that all law is inherently moral. With the latter point I would agree. Yet there is a sharp difference between a government having the power to print coinage and declare war with a government which says thou shall and thou shalt not. The morality of law, at least in the tradition of Western Enlightenment, is of a more humanistic nature: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Reintroduce religion into government and the theocratic State will do as much if not more harm than what we now have. In other words, the problem is not that we lack law regulating morality, it is that we lack personal morality.

Ergo, where I break with Justice Kennedy is on the issues of morality, the definition of marriage and the individual’s duty to society.

The law “places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage,” Kennedy wrote for the court. “The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, and whose relationship the state has sought to dignify.” [Courtesy of Bloomberg]

The Constitution does not protect anti-social forms of sexuality. Why, in the face of allowing homosexual marriage, should we also not allow other forms of sexually deviant behavior. Logically, what society says is wrong about every other conceivable form of sexuality would also amount to discrimination and injustice. But such couldn’t be further from the truth. Every society operates on conceived ideals, what we might call the social glue, or societal fabric. Thus, should a strand be ripped out, the society falls apart, ie changes.

The term anti-social might bring to mind anarchy or some other such means of anti-government sentiment, but true anti-social behavior is that which completely subverts the normative, in this case a form of sexuality that on one hand does not provide for the propagation of society. And on the other hand fundamentally changes the social fabric at its most basic level, the individual family unit.

The pro-LGBT crowd would here cite two seemingly logical arguments as to why homosexual unions are no different than certain heterosexual unions. One, couples are allowed to marry who either cannot have children or are past the age of childbearing years. Second, couples are allowed to marry and choose not to have children. However, these are nothing more than smokescreen arguments. Every society throughout the expanse of time has understood marriage to be a contract, both social, religious and economic, between a man and a woman. By and large, marriages produce children. It is a rule of natural law. Equally so, homosexual unions cannot produce children. Only in our modern scientific age have we perverted the child-bearing process into the choice and convenience of a petri dish.

I am oddly struck that the Supreme Court did not amend the disparity of marriage recognition between the various States [Ref quote at top]. If Justice Kennedy and his four cohorts are truly out to find justice under the law for the homosexual community, would it not therefore be appropriate to wrest the power of marriage away from the individual States and form a Bureau of Marriage at the national level?

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