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. “
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!”
I 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.
And 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.
“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.
And 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
Re: 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.