Monthly Archives: October 2015

The “Intransigence” of the Non-Compromising

Van Harvey, a friend of mine in the grassroots, was asked to comment on a recent David Brooks column in the NYT lamenting the GOP’s abandonment of traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism.”  It’s ALLLL Fox News and Talk Radio’s fault.

If only.   And people really need to read their history if they think politics in the US has not been this contentious throughout its history.  Not that that’s GOOD, per se, it’s just that it’s nothing new.

Anyway, I first thought it was a general call for comments and not specifically just from Van, so I kind of jumped in.  And the train of thought that ensued I think warranted publishing.

Right off the bat I saw something that just stuck in my craw.  David says:

“conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. “change

I’d strike “a belief in steady, incremental change”. Why? Because I believe that belief in change is idiotic. Belief in other things might drive steady, incremental change, but belief in steady, incremental change is just Saul Alinsky Lite.

A respect for precedence is great when conservatism has been running things all along, but when you get people in power over the course of, say, 100 years who do not believe in intellectual humility and do believe in change – and not necessarily steady or incremental – who have thus purposely injected things into the system to take advantage of future respect for precedence… you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands.  So-called conservatives allow this over and over and over and over and over and over and over again … eventually if there are any real conservatives left, it’s going to give rise to someone like Rush Limbaugh to stand up and say, “enough of this crap, we’ve been Mr. Nice Guy long enough!”

Which to his credit Mr. Brooks alludes to in the end:

“These insurgents are incompetent at governing and unwilling to be governed. But they are not a spontaneous growth. It took a thousand small betrayals of conservatism to get to the dysfunction we see all around.”

Well we have yet to see if they are incompetent at governing. And if they are unwilling to be governed by people who only give passing lip service to the Constitution that governs THEM … when you compromise again and again on the very principles of Republican Government, what do you do? Sit down and quietly go down with the ship … and it IS going down … or stand up and sound the alarm that the ship is sinking, you know why, and let’s set about righting the damned thing, or die trying?

Now Brooks probably means when things change they should change slowly and steadily.” But the reason I am sensitive to the language is that when he says “conservatives believe in steady, incremental change” –– the progressive left will answer “hey, so do we!”

Rules_for_RadicalsI read “Rules for Radicals”. The progressive left does believe in change. They actually believe in change for its own sake. Sometimes they call it “transformation”. One of them got really ballsy and called for “Fundamental Transformation”. These are softer terms, found more palatable to the public, for “Revolution”. I’m not making it up, it’s in the book.

Transformation means to change. Fundamental means at the basic, foundational level. To change at the basic, foundational level.  Dude, that’s called Revolution.

goalpostsAnd it’s been going on for a long time. Compromise for the sake of compromise is playing their game. Make your opponent live up to his own rulebook. Rules of fair-play are fundamental to the classical conservative viewpoint. So they’ll play that. Deal is, they won’t stop pushing.

They will move the goal posts every time you compromise until they are where they want to be.They will play that game all day long. Happy to do it. It gets them what they want.

Say a guy really wants to fondle your wife, really badly.

feel up“Hey, mind if I ogle your wife?”
“How about I just look at her?”
“Well, I guess I can’t stop you.”
“Hey, mind if I grab her breast?”
“Well, yeah, I do.”
“Ok, how about I just put my hand on her shoulder?”
“Why are you being so rigid?  You must compromise.  Compromise is a virtue.”
 *sigh* “Ok, you can put your hand on her shoulder.”
“Hey, mind if I remove your wife’s blouse?”
 “As a matter of fact, I do.”
 “Ok, how about I just stick my hand down her blouse?”
“Why are you being so rigid?  You must compromise.  Compromise is a virtue.”

Well at some point a person who values his wife and his standards is going to have to say, “no, and get the hell away from my wife, and away from me, while you’re at it!”

And you’re going to call him belligerent?

It’s actually worse than that. When you finally tell the guy to get the hell away from your wife, he will come back with, “ah, but you set a precedent. I may put my hand on her shoulder! You can’t go backward!”

Then you acquiesce to this principle, and he leaves his hand on her shoulder. But he begins to slip it down a bit. When you protest, he says “Hey, my hand is still on her shoulder. See? My palm is still on top. Besides, who says the shoulder just consists of the top?”

You seek a court order to have him move his hand back to the top. But he counter sues, claiming the shoulder is technically more than just the top.

quadrantAnd the judge your guys nominated and got through comes back and says, “The shoulder may be interpreted as anywhere in an upper quadrant of the torso. He may proceed.”

He starts flagrantly groping your wife right in front of you.

You protest that this was clearly not the intent of your compromise. But now by doing anything about it you are violating his “rights”, you see.

You protest again, and he gets in your face. You hold your hands up, palms out, signaling for him to back off.

He starts shouting “DON’T PUSH ME! HE’S SHOVING ME!’

News cameras show up and interview the man, who has clearly been wronged by your backward adherence to your moral values and your wife’s honor.

They demand to know when you stopped beating your wife.

This is how America feels right now. Her good nature has been taken advantage of far beyond decency.

“But any progress that this groper might enjoy, would result from the husband’s willfully refusing to acknowledge what was actually going on. The groper isn’t attempting to behave in a civil manner, incremental or otherwise, but rather is covertly using the husband’s presumed civility in order to violate his wife’s person (and really, after the second grope, a ‘conservative’ wife would likely remove her pistol from her purse and then seek out a good divorce lawyer).”  – Van Harvey

alinskyRe: Alinsky. They didn’t just read it. They took it to heart, and it defines the driving methods behind the leftist ideologues.  Hillary wrote her thesis on him.  Alinsky is the recognized Father of Community Organizing – something we didn’t know existed until Obama started running for president.  It’s ACORN’s Bible.  Barack was an attorney for them. The Clintons had Cloward and Piven to the White House, fer crissakes. Frances Piven is ecstatic to have Obama in the White House. And the Democrats have an openly admitted socialist who has a reasonable shot at the presidential nomination for one of the two major parties — over the dishonest socialist Alinsky Acolyte who will not openly admit in so many words that she is a socialist – but she’s made pretty clear over the years that her preferred policies align quite well with theirs.

The goal posts for us to compromise with have moved so far to the left it is not even recognizable as American anymore. That should be a 5 alarm fire wake up call. But I suppose we’ll just keep on with our quiet, dignified compromise, deference to precedence, and measured tone.

The argument came back, “do you really think a Republican candidate can get 51% of the vote” as a reason not to fight against things it is opposed to, or as a reason not to fight for things it claims to be for.

Van beat me to my response and probably put it better than I would have:

“We don’t care. To enter a fight only because you feel assured of winning is cowardice in drag.

“A divide that may be insurmountable at this point…” The divide IS insurmountable, but it still may be possible to co-operate civilly, though that is most definitely not what the community organizers want, as Alinsky noted, they want conflict. Period. To attribute that to the 24hr news cycle is too convenient and mechanistic, but again, there’s our divide, pragmatism vs principle, and it has been visible and in the open, again, since the late 1800’s.”

My response was less measured.

“Well, honey, we can’t get 51%, so we’re just going to have to stand by quietly and let him grope you.”

The other side doesn’t care, either. Consider Pelosi’s quote on passing Obamacare:

“We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in but we’re going to get health care reform passed for the America people.”

Now I don’t advocate trampling the intent of the rules to “get things done” like the democrats did to pass ACA. But, especially in the face of that kind of determination, if you don’t fight for it and try to get every vote you can regardless of whether you think you’re going to get 51%, then pack it the hell up and go home and hopefully let somebody who WILL fight for it do the fighting. Otherwise you guarantee the outcome will be the same as if you were not there.

Trampling is just what I believe Donald Trump would do — but the fight is why Trump is so popular – he is unapologetic about several issues that resonate with a lot of conservatives even though many of those conservatives realize he’s really not anything like a classical liberal “conservative”.  But it’s not even necessarily what he’s saying — it’s his perceived willingness to fight for what he apparently believes.  He pushes back on the media with the “gotcha” questions, and he’s unapologetic about it.

As for Talk Radio … if it weren’t for talk radio and Fox News, the ONLY arguments the people would hear would be the progressive left arguments.

And there’s good talk radio and bad talk radio. I can’t stand Savage. I think Hannity makes poor arguments albeit for the right things generally. But I’ll also say that I don’t think there’s’ any more thoughtful voice out there in the media than Glenn Beck’s – and if you don’t believe that you haven’t listened to him. I don’t agree with him about everything, but he’s right way more than he’s wrong.

Rush is a lot more thoughtful than his critics give him credit for. I said before I listened to him for a month precisely to get what he was saying directly from him rather than as filtered through his critics.  I found that his critics are mainly full of shit, and have probably not listened to more than sound bites.  Now his pompous schtick is just that.  It’s showbiz.  It’s a joke that the whole audience is in on.  It’s not my bag, so I stopped after the month I allotted myself. But what I found was if you are actually listening to him — he makes great arguments — FOR the things that Republicans say they champion but hide under their desks if they’re not SURE they can get 51%.  I saw a speech he gave at CPAC a few years back where he dropped the showbiz.  It was a really good speech.

Frankly I don’t watch Fox News, nor do I even really listen to Beck anymore on any sort of regular basis. I don’t need him anymore, but I’m glad they’re there — especially Beck. Instead I read Hayek, Bastiat, Rommen, Sowell, Lewis, and a whole host of other books that talk more about the why than the what.

But most people don’t have time for that. We have jobs.  We have families. Our side doesn’t have an army of Union workers and out-of-work welfare recipients to get out there and protest and lobby with a media friendly to its causes.  And the best most of the rest of us can do is tune into the radio in our cars or at work, or turn on some news channel at night that isn’t hyper-actively involved in the destruction of our own culture.

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Church, State, Socialism, Society, and Laws

“Hey, I’m Good With Socialism”

This came from a Democrat co-worker who was unaware that anyone other than Hillary Clinton is running for the Democratic Party nomination.  When I told him that there was the Socialist pretending she’s not really a socialist, and the Socialist who at least admits he’s a socialist – he asked who the second one was, and I told him Bernie Sanders.  This is the same person who years ago asked me point blank, “Well, what’s wrong with Socialism?” (which I’ve feebly addressed before here and here.)

I gave him a one line answer which I’m sure he did not understand, and it was this: “It is incompatible with human nature.”

I am alarmed at the number of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers I see around this town.

But I was listening to Bill Whittle on one of his Stratosphere Lounge episodes this morning, and Bill did what we should be doing more of… he gave us an example everyone can understand.  And then my mind, as it tends to do, took that stick and ran with it

“The first lie of Communism is that if it’s a cold night out and we’re in the plains of North Dakota, and it’s thirty-five degrees below zero, and we hear bleating out in the barn, and it turns out that one of our cows is sick — [] that one of us will go out there at four o’clock in the morning in thirty degree below zero to take care of a cow that doesn’t belong to us. That we would, in fact, all pitch in and work for the collective as hard as we would work for ourselves. And it just ain’t so.” – Bill Whittle

Socialism is basically Communism Lite.

The idea of socialism is that if one of us does go out in the thirty degree below weather to take care of the farmer’s cow for a fee that the State gets to say how much of that fee that man gets to keep because somebody else didn’t get as big a fee for something he did for someone else, or because somebody else gets no fees for anything because he essentially does nothing — because it’s somehow not fair that they have less.

Capitalism is the idea that the man who goes out in the thirty below weather to take care of the farmer’s cow at 4:00 am will be paid a price he feels is worth his time and trouble — the caveat being that if the farmer is not willing to pay his price, the man does not get paid at all (nor does he have to go through the trouble). This encourages a negotiation — often unseen — where the farmer has incentive to pay what the vet would consider a fair price while the vet has an incentive to charge a price closer to what most farmers would consider fair.

In other words … it’s what people do naturally.

People also steal and maim and kill naturally. And these things are, of course, wrong. People are also naturally lazy and would like it of other people would just do the things they want done. Forcing people to do that is also wrong. And people love and empathize and help each other, and these things are, of course, right. And right and wrong are the concern of morality.

So what is morality, in general? C.S. Lewis broke it down like this:

“Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play.”

The first one is is that which we are concerned with enough that we institute Governments to enforce in a free society. The others are the realm of psychology and religious philosophy and practice — not that the first is not a concern of religion, it’s just the one that falls to the realm of the state.

But we need all three to make a society work, and the other two will necessarily inform some decisions in the realm of the first.

Harmonizing the things inside ones’ self is highly subjective, and the idea of what man was made for is also relatively subjective.  What the man taking care of the cow in thirty below weather does to make things right in himself — he may choose to do it for free if he feels that helping this man out is the right thing to do …. maybe to tidy and harmonize things within himself because he believes it is what he was made for. So who gets to decide these things? The simple answer is that it will either be the individual (or voluntary clusters of individuals) … or the state.  Leaving it to the individual is what we call “religious freedom”.

It is not the realm of the state to guide the soul. And while it is necessary for souls to guide the state in a free society, the soul, must in turn, be guided by something else. This is why, in the Preamble to our Constitution we have the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” .  By their creator.  Not by themselves.  Not by any human being.  And not by the state.  And it lays out the three basic rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness [a paraphrase of Adam Smith’s “Property”]

And it is why John Adams wrote to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The state needs guided souls.

But isn’t Socialism or Communism doing what Jesus said to do?

Well, no.  He would say to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’ s; and to God, the things that are God’ s. And Paul would say that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us.For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

But when the state takes control of this guidance, it imposes its will on the individual conscience – and rights and duties are thus defined by the state. This is totalitarianism.

When the individual (or groups of voluntary individuals — which is still up to each individual in the end) does it, we have the closest thing to a free society we can have. The freest society we could have, where everyone just does whatever they want, however, is anarchy – where might and deception ultimately trump all else. This is why we institute the state – to help ensure that people play nice.

This kind of society, a free society, can only work, however — when there is a sufficient measure of homogeneity of moral opinion among the population. And the best proven practices to foster a homogeneity in moral opinion would be religious institutions. And a society can have multiple religious institutions and remain a cohesive society depending on the degree to which those religious institutions are similar – including the degree to which those who do not necessarily formally subscribe to any of those institutions have similar moral outlooks. And this is because you necessarily need a large concensus on the things which the state is tasked to enforce in order for them to be viewed as just and moral among the general population.

When these moral ideas are hashed out by individuals with relatively homogeneous moral guides, you can have a relatively free society. If any those institutions are given authority over the laws of the state, you have a religious theocracy. It is no different if the state becomes the arbitor of morality. In effect, the state will have become The Church, and your separation is out the window.

Laws (in a free society) are expressions of a society’s shared morals. They express things that will and won’t be allowed and what we will do with people who people who do things that are expressly not allowed – what is considered bad behavior.

Now the more laws a society has, the less free it is. This does not mean we should have no laws. But it does mean, if we value liberty, that we should be judicious about creating new ones.

Good religious institutions will in general foster a more well behaved population insofar as the population makes use of them. But it is of course no guarantee that any individual, church-goer or not, will live up to that institution’s standards, much less that of the society in which it exists. There will always be bad actors.

This idea that outlawing bad behavior gets rid of it — this is the root of the constant clamoring for new laws.

Laws give us a legal framework for confronting bad actors. It doesn’t, in general, stop bad actors from acting. Knowing there are consequences — the confrontation — that’s a deterrent. And deterrents are good. But even they don’t stop it. What stops it is a person who is willing and able to stop it — and it helps a lot if he has the law behind him to support his actions.

Multiculturalism is a lie.

Diversity is not a virtue in and of itself. A certain amount of diversity is a symptom of a free and just society. But it is not the cause. People want to come live in a place where there is a free and just society. Where there is tyranny, people must be forced to stay. “Which way are the boats headed?” is a good indicator. But when a free and just society begins to adjust its rules more to accommodate anyone who comes than the people coming adjust their worldview to that of the society they have come to, that society is not long for this world. It will be taken advantage of by bad actors from both within and outside of that society, and both its freeness and justness will erode either toward anarchy, which leads to totalitarianism by the brutish, or to totalitarianism by the demagogues who will be brutish in their pride.

The various flavors of Marxism are the prideful theories of people who believe they know what’s is best for everyone. Not everyone agrees on what’s best for everyone, which is why it must always be applied at the point of a gun. In addition, their are very often used by demagogues to gain power for whatever reason they choose. They are seductive ideas on the surface. But as Bill’s example of the farmer’s cow on a cold North Dakota night, it is wholly incompatible with the reality of human nature.

nature /ˈnāCHər/ 2. the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.

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