Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: CPAC Conference, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 6:14 am

I’m sitting in the darkened study of my sister’s beautiful home in Bethesda this morning looking forward to a long day of renewing old acquaintances, making new friends, and participating (more like observing) the goings on at CPAC.

I had an interesting discussion last night with my 17 year old cousin about the problem with conservatism today and was surprised that he pretty much nailed the reasons conservatism is in such bad odor with the public and specifically, with his generation. He sees nothing positive coming from conservatives like Hannity, Coulter, and Rush (just picking three examples). What he sees - and I am forced to agree with him - is an overarching arrogance that brooks no discussion and has little room for disagreement.

We may not like it, but my cousin’s generation - and a couple of previous ones - have been educated differently than many of us. They have been taught that moral questions have many sides, that there isn’t one way of looking at the world. When they hear conservatives referring to the opposition as “unpatriotic” it turns them off - they aren’t sure of their own feelings about America themselves.

Clearly, if conservatives wish to attract the young, a better job of educating them outside of the classroom must be done. They will never learn about conservative principles in school - not only because education is dominated by liberals but because the study of most any western philosophy would be anti-diversity.

So the only exposure to conservatism that most children receive comes to them via the Coulter/Hannity/Limbaugh’s of the movement. Entertaining though they are, their very shrillness and presumption of being in the right turns off most kids who have been educated to eschew such certainties.

But isn’t “question everything” the mantra of any good student? I would hope so. However, at some point, questions must harden into a belief system. And when that process begins, the young have little or no idea what classical conservatism is all about because show biz conservatives either don’t know themselves or find it profitable to abandon reason for ranting.

The perils of educating the young in such a way is that enlightenment values get thrown under the bus in obeisance to a nebulous doctrine where ideology rather than philosophy is encouraged. “Diversity” is a wonderful thing - except in teaching competing ideas. And appeals to “thinking with the heart” are substituted for reasoned thought and a rational, objective examination of the issues.

What’s missing? Historian Page Smith, when writing about the Constitutional Convention referred to a “classical Christian Consciousness” that dominated the gathering. This conservative school of thought posits the idea that man is basically evil, that he is stained with original sin and that therefore, governments must be instituted that restrain his baser instincts and protect others from those who would seek to dominate.

But Smith went on to describe the emerging enlightenment values that were also present at the convention. The enlightenment saw man as basically good, capable of perfection with the application of scientific principles to government. This tug of war - roughly between the Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians - ended up with the creation of a document that reflected both sides.

The two great classic philosophies have largely been subsumed by today’s ideological battles. In their name rages a war where one side seeks to dominate the other by any means necessary. I would like to see conservatives try to reclaim some of that classical heritage by becoming more thoughtful, less ideological, and perhaps less doctrinaire - especially since that doctrine is, in my opinion, woefully out of touch with modern realities.

CPAC was not set up to deal with these questions. But it just might start a conversation that would lead to an understanding that for conservatism to become competitive in the marketplace of ideas again, it must acknowledge its shortcomings and work toward reforming itself to better reflect what America has become rather than the way America used to be.


  1. Rick,

    I don’t get it.

    “What he sees – and I am forced to agree with him – is an overarching arrogance that brooks no discussion and has little room for disagreement.

    Do you really find anything but an overarching arrogance from Pelosi, Reid, Frank, et.al? And even though Obama pretends to “listen”, it’s really just for show. He steamrolls his agenda along, and will run over anyone in his path. At least he smiles when he does it. Is that the key?

    The liberals who post here seem to do nothing but criticize and are proud of their elitism.

    I guess, what I’m asking is, how are they able to portray themselves as so openminded when they really aren’t?

    This is really getting on my nerves. Just because the dems are “arrogant” why should conservatives be?

    Boggles the mind…


    Comment by sara in va — 2/26/2009 @ 7:30 am

  2. “Clearly, if conservatives wish to attract the young, a better job of educating them outside of the classroom must be done. They will never learn about conservative principles in school – not only because education is dominated by liberals but because the study of most any western philosophy would be anti-diversity”.
    Unquestionably and unfortunately this statement is the warp and woof of your narrative. Correcting and healing this condition will require a herculean effort. I write and speak from the perspective of an old geezer because that’s what I am. I look at life through one prism; the Christian Bible, which makes any productive dialog or discussion with young folks very difficult. We live in the “American Idol” “I want my mommy” “Me first” “Challenge authority” generation. With all of this being diametrically opposed to my stated prism we could be faced with a life-or-death challenge. This declension didn’t happen overnight and healing this moral sickness will of necessity be incremental otherwise, we are hopeless. How might we convince your 17 year old cousin for example that humanity is not basically good? There remains one ray of hope; youngsters are flexible, old folks like me are not. I copied your statement above because there is so much wisdom packed into one sentence. Education is vitally important. With a few questions directed to my grand kids I’ve learned that we have totally banned God from the classroom. This was not the framers’ intent. I watched our culture start to go sour in 1955, my parents claim that the moral compass started to waver long before that. Amazingly, and this speaks to the flexibility of our youth, I read a recent survey where a significant percentage of youngsters believe that teaching creationism as well as evolution would set the table for each to stand or fall on their own merit, or lack thereof. If the youngsters embrace that mindset it’s obvious that a secular mindset has driven us to new lows. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen by accident. I’ll close with my favorite radical statement; we are in the latter stages of a great controversy between Christ and Satan and, it’s been raging for over 6000 years.

    Comment by jazplyr — 2/26/2009 @ 7:47 am

  3. Are you saying that conservatives should remake themselves around the model of a modern 17 year old’s ideas? That their training, thought processes and exposure are what we must adapt to?
    That we must become less doctrinaire because they have been taught differently? That their view of the world is somehow better than ours because they are unformed plastic shells in a still tough world?

    What appears to be the case is that this is a call for surrender of the current conservative value system in favor of a nebulous kumbaya with raw, new-thought teenagers brought up in a system of liberal perfection-of-man goo that is largely antithical to us, leading toward agnosticism or atheism, and totally impractical as a guide in the real world.

    This strikes me as exactly the reverse of what should happen. The teens of all ages, their education system, and their spiritual upbringing must be addressed and formulated to teach them Christian conservative values early on, not the other way around.

    Comment by mannning — 2/26/2009 @ 7:53 am

  4. What you have pointed out inadvertently is the fact that many of the thought leaders in the Conservative media are unwilling to address the nuances of life in America today. For example, I am continually frustrated at Rush for demonstrating a simpleton’s view of economy when he pretends that the wealthy business owners are not participating the in fleecing of our country. Rush takes a position en extreme in order to have listeners err on the side of freedom.

    They do this for good reason, showing no weakness is the best way to bluff your opposition into retreat. However, this will not occur with the liberals. They will never retreat for long. The communists of the old USSR retrenched themselves after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Soviet Empire only to reemerge in various incarnations. They think that they are on the side of history, with a winning hand.

    Teenagers of today need to be listened to and understood, then they need to be lead. Yes, we hearken back to an age of principles and morals. Yes we stand upon the rock of Jesus Christ and believe that the Bible is God’s instruction manual for our lives and his love letter to his bride. Can you sense the vision, the clarity here. If they can’t stomach Rush or Ann tell them to keep listening. Kids must do things that they don’t enjoy from time to time. I remember when I was a child, I thought like a child and I was made to eat my veggies.

    Comment by Arch — 2/26/2009 @ 8:27 am

  5. Small government, pro-growth, pro-employment, pro-military, anti-welfare, and anti-crime values are not easy to make popular and attractive. One values them after realizing the folly of the alternative. Most people hate their jobs until they’re unemployed. Most people want to punish companies labeled “anti-green” until it translates to more unemployment. Couple that with a predominant media that signals it’s cool to adore lightweights like Barry and Caroline, and to scorn Sarah and Bobby.

    So I have to agree with the “manning” comment above, tweaking conservatism to somehow appeal to this crop of youth is also folly, and I suspect most conservatives with young adult children will agree.

    Comment by mark30339 — 2/26/2009 @ 8:52 am

  6. “This is really getting on my nerves. Just because the dems are “arrogant” why should conservatives be?

    Boggles the mind…


    I won’t defend arrogance on the part of conservatives. I think part of the issue is one of pure perception - it is NOT true that conservatives are arrogant and liberals are not but that is the perception of some people. I think anyone who would claim that conservatives are the predominantly arrogant ones is seeing things through an already biased lense. Liberals and conservatives both think they are right and I suppose this could be interpreted as arrogance. The one thing liberals do have going for them which helps how they are perceived is that they preach tolerance (though they rarely actually practice it) and like to pretend they are open and broad minded and a wide open tent. Young people tend to fall for this lie.

    Comment by Bald Ninja — 2/26/2009 @ 9:00 am

  7. @jazplyr - You forgot to add “You damn kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!!!” When I read lines like “we are in the latter stages of a great controversy between Christ and Satan and, it’s been raging for over 6000 years” it fills my Atheist Democrat heart with joy…you will only win over young people who were already brain-washed fundies….sometimes I think there may be a God and He helped destroy the Republican party by forever tying them to the Christian Right.

    Comment by aric — 2/26/2009 @ 9:02 am

  8. aric,

    “sometimes I think there may be a God and He helped destroy the Republican party by forever tying them to the Christian Right.”

    Thanks for proving my point.

    Comment by Bald Ninja — 2/26/2009 @ 9:12 am

  9. Rick -

    Keep asking these questions…we aren’t faced with a binary choice. The alternative to Rush, Ann and Sean isn’t necessarily caving in. There are no winners in a shouting match. Nothing in the conservative values that I hold require sarcasm, bad manners and an unwillingness to listen. There’s a place for Limbaugh, Coulter and Hannity, but there’s also room for alternative voices and for dialog. I don’t believe that Burke (or Kirk) would be remembered had their policy been to demonize and shout down everyone with whom they disagreed.

    Comment by David — 2/26/2009 @ 9:12 am

  10. “So the only exposure to conservatism that most children receive comes to them via the Coulter/Hannity/Limbaugh’s of the movement.”

    If parents are doing their expressed purpose of preparing their offspring to be coherent productive participants in society, then by the time their offspring reach the age of 17 they should have already been taught to use critical thinking and be able to sift through the political obstacle course. Seventeen year old young adults are capable of forming their own opinions and convictions, if their parents challenge them to test what they are being exposed to in school, in peer groups and in outside situations. I know this because I have four daughters that were challenged by me and my wife from the time they started school and were subjected to the constant barrage of liberalism in the government school systems.

    I challenged them to form their own opinions and convictions based upon logical thinking and facts they ascertained by themselves. I didn’t want them to just parrot what I believed or what their teachers believed. I constantly tested their convictions by having them explain why they believed certain things and what lead them to the conclusions they did. All four of them are strong, independent women that think for themselves and follow their beliefs and support activities they believe in. They are not little soldiers marching in step with any specific agenda, rather they tend to be supportive and in tune with a broad spectrum of political ideas. Each one has strong convictions and passion about both conservative and liberal ideas and will provide you with the reasons they believe what they do without hesitation.

    If your seventeen year old cousin gets his exposure only from ‘talk show hosts’, then he hasn’t had enough parental intervention and guidance when it was needed during the years that it should have been provided. He will have a hard time as a young adult discerning truth from illusion.

    Comment by Dale in NJ — 2/26/2009 @ 9:13 am

  11. “Clearly, if conservatives wish to attract the young, a better job of educating them outside of the classroom must be done…So the only exposure to conservatism that most children receive comes to them via the Coulter/Hannity/Limbaugh’s of the movement. Entertaining though they are, their very shrillness and presumption of being in the right turns off most kids who have been educated to eschew such certainties.”

    Speaking as a father of a 26, 24 and 21 year old, this is dead on. I fear that just as the Republican party missed an opportunity with hispanics, who I believe have a natural inclination to conservative values, the party will once again miss the opportunity with young adults. Only one of my kids is conservative yet all three regularly complained about their intolerant, liberal professors. They were positively predisposed to listen to and sympathize with an alternative viewpoint. BUT, it needed to be well thought out. It needed to have some intellectual heft. Rush and Sean aren’t in that category.

    Comment by Chris — 2/26/2009 @ 9:25 am

  12. I continue to go here because you point out what is obvious but unfortunately for some conservatives, it isn’t obvious to them. I am 30 but also I have had many volunteer jobs and even for a time teaching jobs with youth. They don’t like the angry people on Fox and think it’s a joke, same with Rush. Hell I don’t even like Rush and think he really is hurting conservatism even if he was good in the 90s. Also being so tied to religion hasn’t helped either, even if the party just moderated a little in that area it would help.

    But even if most youth voted for Obama, there are a number of younger people who do agree with smaller gov’t, fiscal responsibility, and here is the part the gets conservatives in arms, a limited military. We can be strong but we don’t need to use it everywhere. Yes it’s more of the libertarian viewpoint but a lot of them have left the GOP and are trying to make a liberalibertarian movement (like Will Wilkinson, formerly from CATO).

    Comment by bubbaquimby — 2/26/2009 @ 9:41 am

  13. The problem the right has is that 17-year-olds know all the answers to questions they’ve never been given the opportunity to ask. Liberal education early on establishes labels and fixed definitions. And that education starts at birth, it is the common denominator of all things kids are exposed to. Any possibility of critical-thinking is crushed first and in its place are commandments of the left. There are victims and the heros (we know who they are), and then there are villains (we know who they are).

    The so-called shouting from the right seems offensive to them only because the ring tone from the left has been so deafening all their lives, when they occasionally hear a sound on at different decibel, its sounds foreign to them.

    I don’t think there is any cure. They only way conservatism can have any impact at all is to infiltrate our educational system. And I don’t see that happening.

    Comment by mimi k — 2/26/2009 @ 9:42 am

  14. Rick -

    ‘Diversity’ … now there’s a word that boggles my mind and gets on my nerves. While I would certainly agree that education is key, I would go one step further and argue that not only are conservative values and principles not being taught in the classroom, but, even worse, they are often demonized and completely misrepresented under the misnomer of diversity. If one’s first real exposure to ‘the right’ is the talking heads of talk radio, how could anyone be anything but turned off if the only ‘diverse, multi-sided perspective’ being taught in the classroom is that they (the left) are correct and anything we (the right) think is incorrect. Diversity is anything but what is happening in our classrooms today particularly at the college level. Professors and classmates dismissal of opposing viewpoints; conformity at the risk of public humiliation or failing grades; allowing any ‘left-wing’ group on campus for rallies, demonstrations, or whatever while telling Christian, Republican or other ‘right-wing’ groups sorry, but you aren’t allowed to use campus facilities. No you can’t pray at school, but we are going to mandate that you must take courses in Muslim, Black, Minority, Diverse studies. Sorry, but most of what passes today under the guise of ‘diversity’ is anything but diverse.

    Comment by Michael S. — 2/26/2009 @ 9:47 am

  15. Rick said:

    The perils of educating the young in such a way is that enlightenment values get thrown under the bus in obeisance to a nebulous doctrine where ideology rather than philosophy is encouraged.

    What is/are “enlightenment values?”

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 2/26/2009 @ 9:59 am

  16. Loathing liberals and intellectual elites is not the way out of the wilderness. Tying conservative values with an increased creativity (less red tape etc) might be a way. In addition, without a doubt conservatism has to adopt to the present. The internet wasn’t a problem or possibility 50 years ago. The problem often is a lack of respect to ‘uncommon’ viewpoints in a discussion; e.g. there were quite a number of conservative opponents of the Iraq war. Hannity, Coulter and the likes just don’t encourage any types of discussion but then they are entertainers. I, for example, like the differing viewpoints at the American Conservative and I hope we can get some intellectual credibility back in the future.

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 11:00 am

  17. Conservatism vs. Diversity is a false dichotomy. The core dichotomy is Individualist vs. Communitarian.

    Conservatives believe in the individual and individual responsibility. They believe that if a million people pursue their own interests the whole will prosper as well. For this reason they believe that government is a tool that should only be taken out and used when there is no alternative — defense, for example.

    Liberals believe that the community or group is the essential unit and that the individual must as times compromise with the community for the good of all. They see government as a useful tool that expresses the will of the community.

    Obviously in practice there’s all sorts of cross-over. Conservatives want to use government to dictate morality, liberals praise the freedom of individuals, particularly artists. An awful lot of people who think of themselves as conservatives, are no such thing.

    But “diversity” is an empty scare word. It’s also past its sell-by date as far as the young are concerned. The young assume racial equality, and assume religious equality, and assume gender equality. Yes, gay marriage is coming. No, abortion won’t be outlawed. Yes, gays will serve openly in the military. No, we’re not doing away with the wall between church and state. Accept all that and move on.

    Your problems are less about “diversity” than about urbanization and suburbanization. The individualist approach makes more sense for people who grow their own food and pump their own water than for people who live cheek by jowl in 50 story condos, or even people in gated communities. Conservatism is living on nostalgia at this point. Conservatives need to stop looking back to cowboys and pioneers and Ronal Reagan. Figure out how conservatism works for a New Yorker or an Anegelo, or you’re done for.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/26/2009 @ 11:17 am

  18. Michael,

    Nothing will change until both sides realize that the core beliefs of each side are more rooted in genetics than anything else.

    If that baseline truth is ever fully understood (by non scientists), working together in a greater capacity is entirely possible. Without that understanding and acceptance, the divide will remain as prominent and pointlessly counterproductive as ever.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 2/26/2009 @ 11:28 am

  19. We might as well pack it in if we are going to start catering to the perceptions of 17 year olds. Come back in 10 years and ask about his worldview. Chances are it will be markedly different.

    Comment by Greg — 2/26/2009 @ 11:35 am

  20. Ok, so we need to education the young outside the classroom. How shall that be done?

    It seems it doesn’t matter in what manner we advocate for conservatism “becoming more thoughtful, less ideological, and perhaps less doctrinaire” or with push back at their own level (Limbaugh, Coulter), the constant media pounding is overwhelming. Don’t forget the corner we are in (racists, bigots, religious fanatics, gun grabbers, etc). All debates with liberalism starts with that rule.

    Most of my friends are liberals, and I have worked in the newspaper business for 25 years or more. I’ve tried unless debate, and they have their usual sweeping statements. However, I stopped allowing their premise as the foundation for discussion and they give up. The funny thing is, they live their personal lives very conservatively in most cases. It’s bewildering to me that they can’t see the huge disconnect in how they apply their politics.

    So, tell us how we reintroduce conservatism. By its nature conservatism isn’t something that can be dressed up in the latest fade. I’m at a loss.

    Comment by mimi k — 2/26/2009 @ 11:36 am

  21. One thing that is also annoying is this constant whining. Ok, there are more liberals in education but then aren’t there more conservatives in the military? Talk radio is dominated by conservatives and MSM is slightly tilted to the left. People gravitate towards fields and people that are like them. That’s human nature so pleeez stop whining!

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 12:31 pm

  22. Interesting. Nowhere in my post did I assert that conservatives are arrogant, or should be. I was noting that the perception by your 17 year old cousin is that conservatives are, and liberals aren’t.

    Your response to me is proof that arrogance is certainly alive and well on the perch you inhabit. Maybe your cousin thinks YOU are arrogant and draws conclusions.

    I am a fairly young mom and have teenagers who are smart enough to see behind the rhetoric. I would suggest that young people like your cousin are easily led.

    Hope you enjoy making “new friends” at CPAC. Although I think your friends are likely to be elsewhere.

    Comment by sara in va — 2/26/2009 @ 1:14 pm

  23. Greg:

    The 17 year-old will vote in the next election. But okay, if you don’t want his vote we’ll take it.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/26/2009 @ 1:15 pm

  24. If you want an example of conservatives self destructing you just need to follow the comments at Hot Air. Here is piece:

    Hey Dave (Brooks):

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but why don’t you shut the frig up and go away. Anyone who would work for the NYT AND PBS ain’t no conservative and isn’t even one to be trusted.

    Well,enough said. (that’s on David Brooks comment on Jindal’s speech). Just read the comments and you will see these people live in the ‘reality-free zone’.

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 1:27 pm

  25. Each side has its share of arrogant, angry “acolytes” (A devoted follower or attendant). I too find Ann Coulter very angry and shrill, Rush with his “intelligence on loan from God” is certainly arrogant and I must admit that I watch very little Hannity. That said, Chris Matthews, Wolf Blizter, Charles Gibson, Joyce Behar, Kenneth Olberman et al. aren’t exactly hiding under bushes. They’re loud, they’re arrogant, why doesn’t your nephew see that, too?

    We’re a conservative household with two teenagers. We discuss our issues; we tell our sons that the choice of where they stand is up to them. Be open minded, look past the rhetoric and do the research for yourself on any issue. You must always balance the desires of the heart with the intelligence of the mind and reason it out. So far, they hold to conservative values - it makes sense to them. Out in the world, there are so many choices but I believe they’ll stay fundamentally conservative all their lives. I could be wrong, only time will tell.

    Comment by mcleodlt — 2/26/2009 @ 2:28 pm

  26. Rick,
    Great post.

    I wanted to address the “nature of man” dichotomy you describe and point to an area where we conservatives have been lead astray.

    I see two diametrically opposed views of man: man as intrinsically evil vs. man as intrinsically good.

    James Madison saw man as basically evil. Men living together in society have a propensity to harm and commit injustice towards each other. The purpose of a well devised government is to put in place structural impediments (separation of powers, checks and balances) to limit man’s tendency towards evil to his fellows while still allowing for man to express his God given freedom. Notice, man needs to be free so we need to have limited government, but man is basically evil so government must exercise restraint over man to prevent evil and injustice. Madison thought his system of government was so perfect that its very structure would prevent evil. Yet, it is tight rope act. The goal is to preserve freedom while preventing evil.

    For Karl Marx man is basically good. Man is made bad by his society. Private property, inequality, racism are all in the structure of poorly designed societies forcing intrinsically good men to behave badly. Fix society, primarily by eliminating private property and “false consciousness”, and man will return naturally to his intrinsically good self and a Communist Utopia will result. Something like a Garden of Eden, where each man is liberated to live up to his full potential.


    Yet in our modern conservatism, I think we have gone astray. We have replaced Madison’s “nature of man” for the one formulated by Marx in our political philosophy.

    We think government unnecessarily limits man and forces him to do bad things because of poorly formulated government policy. Therefore, if we limit, or eliminate government and its policies man will express his natural innate goodness through his God given freedom.

    This modern formulation explains why we conservatives think all regulation of business is bad even though there is ample evidence coming directly out of the real world that proves it is nonsense. We say free man from all impediments and he will be just and thrive, yet we don’t see this in our real world experiences.

    It’s because Madison was right. Men are basically evil. They have a tendency to accumulate and use power for unjust or evil ends. This is why Madison wanted to limit government. Yet the same men who can accumulate and abuse power in government can accumulate and abuse power at the world’s largest bank (think Sh*tty-Bank) or a large deregulated power company (think Enron). Man’s “nature” is the same regardless of where he works (either in business or government).

    I think part of the road back is recognizing the fact that abuses of power can take place in the private and public sector. Citizens must keep an eye on government and government must keep an eye on business. If government behaves in an evil way, we must remove the evil doers from office. Since men in business will, on occasion, act in an evil way government must have the power to regulate them as well.

    Summary: the mantras that regulation is bad or that business is always good need to be dropped.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 3:10 pm

  27. ….that for conservatism to become competitive in the marketplace of ideas again, it must acknowledge its shortcomings and work toward reforming itself to better reflect what America has become rather than the way America used to be.

    Yes, right, it is true that we cannot easily reverse the twenty most egregious Supreme Court decisions of the past century that have altered our governance in extrordinary ways, BUT WE SHOULD TRY!

    Yes, right, we would find it rather difficult to reeducate the millions that have been steeped in “me first”, porn and hedonism for decades, and have forgotten their earlier training in morality (if they ever had any), BUT WE SHOULD TRY!

    Yes, right, we would find it very hard to counter the siren calls of easy welfare, new rights and privileges, tax rebates for taxes never submitted, free medical care, free college, and all of the bribes that spendthrift liberals offer for your vote, BUT WE SHOULD TRY!

    Yes, right, America is not the America of the 50’s and 60’s, WE GET THAT! But we also get that what has changed us is often not for the good, and should be corrected. Just because something exists now, or is the mode of thought now, does not come close to implying that we conservatives should make any significant changes to our beliefs at all. That is, if you are not lazy, and are not looking for the easy way forward.

    I, for one, would never think of running hard to catch up with today’s political center in order to lead it, because that center is now what we used to call the left, or the center left, anyway. Education of the body politic toward the right is needed, however, and WE SHOULD TRY!

    And, we should let the current debacle speak for the cunning ways of the left, which is a horse that has its own head for now. Maybe a little later, they will listen to prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice, and what these virtues demand of each of us.

    Just maybe, if we work at it hard enough!

    Comment by mannning — 2/26/2009 @ 3:13 pm

  28. bsjones,
    hate to disagree but I think Dostoevsky had it right. The line between good and evil goes right through everyone’s heart.

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 3:20 pm

  29. bsjones


    Comment by mannning — 2/26/2009 @ 3:21 pm

  30. Manning, I can’t tell which political party you’re ranting about. Was that the point?

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 2/26/2009 @ 3:43 pm

  31. Rick, you are helping Obama’s work to marginalize Rush, Hannity and Coulter by saying they represent “the wrong way” to send the conservative message.

    Sadly right now, there are no others effectively sending a constructive & instructive conservative message on any public level. Most ‘other’ ostensible conservative voices these days are; “willing to work with the President”; or they just want their proposals to receive and ‘up or down’ vote on the floor.

    Liberals won power largely through mischaracterizing the opposition along with a lot of media help parroting their message. Nothing new there. Republicans didn’t preserve & adhere to the conservative base priciples that got them to the mountaintop in ‘94. They could not defend their positions publicly because they failed to defend them in practice. The principles aren’t the problem. It’s the lack of adherence & articulation by those that want to serve in congress, etc.

    Thus into the vaccumm the successful adherents of those principles flowed: Rush, Hannity, Coulter, etc.

    Republicans are failing to articulate that the individual should rule themselves first, and vote wisely…electing representatives that will work to protect the individual’s interests. That’s a difficult idea to sell when the other party is selling: free healthcare, free gas, “what ever’s troubling you, don’t worry about it” and an affordable mortgage, on someone else’s dime. The dificult reality is: we only develope real self-esteem through ‘personal-best’ accomplishments. Oh yeah, and life’s not fair.

    The percieved “arrogance” of Rush, Hannity, etc. stems from an accurate premise: being a democrat today: a modern liberal, IS a gutless, cinchy and lazy choice. Being a conservative and practicing conservatism is an ongoing task.

    Why is American Idol so popular to no-talent performers? They’re trying to fast-track their success instead of earning it by breaking their balls on the road. Like Rush, Hannity and Coulter have done! These AI marginally talented wanna-be’s beg or righteously DEMAND to be ‘voted through’. Yet they’re willing to royalty their future to the Devil: Simon. The man who represents the ‘bad-guy’ meanie conservative type that doesn’t buy into their pleas for a charitable vote because: “they need this so bad! Thus he is always disliked because his message is deemed ‘insensitive’ to these poor “struggling” performers. Those marginal contestants prove the ‘evil’ Simon correct by being booted sooner rather than later. So much for ‘charity’.

    Comment by P. Aaron — 2/26/2009 @ 4:12 pm

  32. funny man,

    Sounds like you have an interesting point. Care to elaborate?


    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 4:13 pm

  33. P. Aaron,

    I disagree with your position on Hannity, Rush, Beck, and Coulter. They are magicians assistants distracting our eyes (and minds) so the master magicians can complete their tricks away from public scrutiny.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 4:20 pm

  34. bsjones

    You really are starting to sound like a deranged conspiracy theorist.

    Comment by sara in va — 2/26/2009 @ 4:34 pm

  35. bsjones You really are starting to sound like a deranged conspiracy theorist.

    No, he doesn’t. He sounds thoughtful, intelligent, and curious.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 2/26/2009 @ 4:38 pm

  36. I’m with Chuck. I thought bs made an interesting point.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/26/2009 @ 4:45 pm

  37. Sara in VA,

    I see lots of evidence everyday that shows the “heart of man” has (at least) a few dark corners. Going into business for yourself or heading a large corporation does not shine the light of “enlightened self-interest” into every nook and cranny of the human heart any more than going into government does.

    The possibility of evil exists for CEO’s just like it does for Congressman. Our system of government places checks on individuals in government through the ballot box, checks and balances, and separation of powers. Our government can place restraint on CEO’s through government regulation.

    Our job as citizens is to ensue that government does not commit evil and corruption through “narrow self-interest” like bribes and so on. It is also our job to make sure we do not allow government to needlessly restrict our freedom. If government makes one of these mistakes, we can hold them accountable through the ballot box.

    We must equally be on guard against our politicians being purchased by a concentration of power in the corporate world. For, once the government is bought and paid for by these corporate interest groups, the government will act to shift the resources away from the people and into corporate hands. I think this is happening as I write.

    It’s simple. Politicians can be corrupted. Citizens can be corrupted. Business leaders can be corrupted. CEO’s can be corrupted. EVERYONE CAN BE CORRUPTED.

    Citizens must keep watch over government. Government must keep watch over business
    while maintaining our God given freedom. This is a difficult balancing act. The balance is maintained through the art of politics.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 5:40 pm

  38. bs jones,
    you almost said what I wanted to say. Of course, we could argue about what good an evil is. However, for simplicity let’s stay with the ten commandments. I’m married and I love my wife but at the same time desire other women. If given a chance I could choose good over evil but also evil over good. So it is with most things in life. Naturally, politicians, CEO, democrats or republicans, all being human will act sometimes selfless and sometimes selfish. Ok, that’s enough trading commonplaces.
    What I like about Dostoevsky is that he takes you on a journey to your heart and you realize you are both close to a saint and a criminal. I hope I’m not too far off topic.

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 5:53 pm

  39. Funny man:
    I made the mistake of reading Dostoyevsky when I was just moving to San Francisco many years ago. It cast a gloomy pall over the city that I steel feel when I visit there.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/26/2009 @ 6:12 pm

  40. steel=still. Jesus. Tired.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/26/2009 @ 6:12 pm

  41. funny man,

    So both of these possibilities (good and evil) exist in all of us.


    If we are to march out of the wilderness, I think we very vocally must acknowledge this very basic fact of human existence. Let us no longer pretend that everything our business leaders do will result in good outcomes for everyone. Sometimes what is “good for General Motors (or Enron, or Haliburton, or Black Water) is not good for America”. So let’s not pretend that it does.

    All I am asking is we begin to acknowledge the obvious. For example, we need to regulate banks when what is good for them will actually destroy America. Greenspan never thought about this possibility until it was too late. Let’s not allow our Legislature to repeat Greenspan’s mistake.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 7:03 pm

  42. Michael wrote:

    The core dichotomy is Individualist vs. Communitarian.

    Conservatives believe in the individual and individual responsibility. They believe that if a million people pursue their own interests the whole will prosper as well. For this reason they believe that government is a tool that should only be taken out and used when there is no alternative—defense, for example.

    Liberals believe that the community or group is the essential unit and that the individual must as times compromise with the community for the good of all. They see government as a useful tool that expresses the will of the community.

    That doesn’t ring true to me.

    Yes, some conservatives toward the libertarian end of the spectrum believe in rugged individualism, the myth of the lone hero who depends only on himself. But social conservatives are far more communitarian than liberals are. They portray liberals as narcissists who care only about their own gratification, and conservatives as people who submit to God, marry for life, and conform to traditional community morals.

    Comment by amba — 2/26/2009 @ 7:10 pm

  43. Amba:

    I also wrote An awful lot of people who think of themselves as conservatives, are no such thing.

    So-called social conservatives are not conservative in the broader, philosophical sense of the word. Social conservatives look to government to promote their own denominational values. They aren’t conservatives, they aren’t liberals, they’re sectarians with a grab bag of other features attached. Huckabee, for example, is an economic populist and social conservative, not a conservative.

    This is why actual conservatives, like Moran, have such a hard time sharing a party with these people. The social conservatives used to be the useful idiots of conservatism. Now they’re driving the bus and ejecting people like David Brooks or Peggy Noonan or Christopher Buckley or Rick Moran.

    This is the subtext to many conversations about the future of conservatism: how do we ditch the nuts? Problem is, it’s the nuts doing the ditching.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/26/2009 @ 7:34 pm

  44. Bs jones,
    ok, going back in time to our presumably Stome Age ancestors. Where did altruism come from? Perhaps a more selfless society is stronger in the long run than a very individualistic one. On the other hand, great deeds might be needed to win over your favorite woman… Yes, this is the everlasting struggle. My opinion has always been that you need to regulate capitalism to reap it’s benefits. There has to be a balance. I think it is an illusion things will just self-assemble but where do you draw the line so not to suffocate individual freedom and creativity. It is an interesting question that both conservatives and liberals ask themselves and I might just add, sometimes makes for strange bedfellows.

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 7:41 pm

  45. funny man,


    Many of our values are in tension.

    freedom order
    individual community

    There must be others. I think problems arise when some values completely overshadow others. Politics is the art of negotiating between these competing values in an ever changing world.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 7:54 pm

  46. Chuck Tucson:

    I’m curious what you meant about the real distinction between these points of view being genetic. I’m curious because I just wrote something (along the lines of irresponsible speculation) that might or might not be related, towards the end of this post.

    Comment by amba — 2/26/2009 @ 7:55 pm

  47. I listen to Rush everyday, I’m liberal but he is entertaining. What I see is his arrogance and ego being more important than advancing conservatism. The show is about “him”. First and foremost and he thinks he’s always right. Either people should agree with him 100% or they are the enemy. Guess what people, the world out there isn’t hardcore far-right. Not saying its liberal either, but Rush turns off the vast middle ground, especially African-American and hispanics, bad move imho. Rick is right about what he learned talking to his nephew. The more arch conservative the gop trends, the more they lose the middle….just saying.

    Comment by Joe — 2/26/2009 @ 8:07 pm

  48. bsjones,

    You know, you ought to rethink your thinking if the two most liberal posters on this blog are defending you. That’s what I’m saying.

    They’re like the cultists from Rosemary’s Baby. They sense your vulnerability. They have their talons extended in your direction.

    I’m sad for you. Because our country is spending itself into hell, and you are still letting your personal situation color your world. (The banks,the banks,thebanks!!!)

    Snap out of it. Take your blinders off, quit admiring your writing and get out for some fresh air. (Um, be man.) The enormous tsunami that’s upon us isn’t Rush Limbaugh’s fault, dude. Good God. Anybody who truly wants to blame a freakin’ radio broadcaster is whacked.

    Comment by sara in va — 2/26/2009 @ 9:12 pm

  49. What (small government) conservatism offers is the fresh air of freedom. Freedom to choose your own path and enjoy the fruits of your own labor. Freedom to pursue happiness the way you define it.

    Does the next generation want to subvert their interests to the ‘good of the group’? The group is always happy to take what is yours to increase their own comfort.

    Comment by Lily — 2/26/2009 @ 9:16 pm

  50. Sara in VA,

    Concern noted and taken under advisement.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/26/2009 @ 9:20 pm

  51. Since when is affirming your position acheived by pointing a bony finger at those you disagee with (Coulter, Hannity and Limbaugh)? Perhaps those who are true conservatives understand that using rational thought is the best way to get your message across, not by saying “I am simply right because they are simply wrong and my view point is right because their’s is wrong”.

    When my children were teenagers I had a little sign on the fridge that said: “I understand you think you are smarter than the management. Please, move out until you realize you are wrong.” I would warrant if you took a survey of the number of 17 year olds who listen to any of the people you mentioned, you would be surprised. All those jam box earphones shoved in their ears are not because the dial is tuned into the EIB. If you think they are, from the imput of a young man whose view of the world will change many times before he is 35, you are delusional.

    Yes, young adults are allowed to vote. That is no more than fair because they are also asked to defend their nation at that age. But I can promise you, the thing that will turn them from the idealist, bleating heart liberal that most kids are at that age, is that it will decrease esponentially as their incomes increase. There is nothing like a high five figure income to make you into a die hard conservative. My own son was a wealth sharing, communalist when he was in the 15% tax bracket. Now that he is in the 33% bracket, that person no longer exists.

    Get back to me, Rick when your nephew is 35, has a wife, a couple of kids and is paying a mortgage and car payment.

    Comment by retire05 — 2/26/2009 @ 9:27 pm

  52. Oh, Chuck, you can figure it out, there’s a good boy!

    Comment by mannning — 2/26/2009 @ 10:09 pm

  53. Michael Reynolds,
    strangely enough, I found Dostoevsky not only gloomy but also uplifting. My favorite is ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ but regarding this topic you were probably referring to ‘Crime and Punishment’, a translation I don’t like. It sounds very flat. The German translation is ‘Schuld und Suehne’ (Guilt and Atonement) which is much closer to the Russian original. It is just the image of Raskolnikov atoning for his crime in an orthodox service in a Siberian laborcamp that greatly impressed me. However, perhaps these are just signs of a downward spiraling of a conservative mind.

    Comment by funny man — 2/26/2009 @ 10:22 pm

  54. Ok, here goes my defense of Rush, Sean and Ann.
    Rush Limbaugh will tell you that he is an entertainer first and foremost. But, he is a self-taught man who did not go to college. He lived real like. He has been hired and fired from jobs. He is who he is. I will suspect that your cousin has never taken the time to listen to Rush. Yes, just like anyone else, he can go overboard at times. But, listen to Rush. A poster earlier could not get one of his standard lines right. It is not “intelligence on loan from God” but “talent on loan from God”. I think that overwhelming number of those commenting on this post have never listened to Rush a week straight let alone three hours.
    Sean is way to repetitive. Kind has a Rain Man streak about him. But, he does more for our troops and their families than any of the so-called conservative intellectuals.
    That leads to Ann Coulter.
    Sure, she is a firebrand on television. And yes, she can go way over the top.
    But, as in the case of Rush, I ask all her detractors if they have ever READ one or any of her books? Her defense of Sen. Joe McCarthy was epic. There was a lot of evidence and research in that book. Ann Coulter is one of the smartest people in the conservative movement today. She is willing to take on topics and issues that most stay away from.
    As far as young people being “taught” differently, I am a product of public education. And yet, because I opened my eyes, read National Review, and LISTENED to what Ronald Reagan was saying long before I could even vote, I do not buy that arguement. An earlier poster had it right. Sit down and TALK with your children about current events. That is way more of a learning experience than anything taught in a classroom. We can not cheapen the classical conservatism to please a generation that has been indoctrinated. EACH ONE OF US need to be the teachers of what conservatism means. We need to teach young people that dependence on the government for happiness and or security is a false choice. And, all conservatives must understand that we can not leave it up to “leaders”. WE ARE THE LEADERS!

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — 2/26/2009 @ 11:03 pm

  55. In case anyone missed it, we conservatives lost the war last November. Decisively (see: ashbin of history). Whatever emerges next will merely be a zombie climbing out of the grave. We’re just going to have to wait for facist of our own.

    Comment by pauls — 2/27/2009 @ 8:44 am

  56. I’m glad your teen cousin is intelligent. The average youth in this country is dumber than a bag of rocks. If anything, talk radio goes over their heads. The solace is that these young know-nothings will turn fiercely on Obama in about a week when they don’t get a free car. Whether they go back to the polls to kick out the failed Santas is another matter, of course.

    Unlike you, I’m actually optimistic from a political standpoint. The Obama Administration will implode more rapidly than Bush did because the current economic illiterate will be associated with his failed policies in his first term. In a way, that implosion has started, albeit in a slow-mo way.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 2/27/2009 @ 9:31 am

  57. amba

    I’m curious what you meant about the real distinction between these points of view being genetic. I’m curious because I just wrote something (along the lines of irresponsible speculation) that might or might not be related, towards the end of this post.

    Political orientations have a very significant basis in genetic makeup. It is deeply rooted in fear reactions to various stimuli, as well as aversion to, or acceptance of change.

    If you take random people and subject them to the exact same fight/flight based experiments, you can determine, with very great accuracy, which political spectrum they identify with, without ever having studied the subjects opinions on political issues. This applies to both physical and emotional response sets.

    In light of that, it’s clear that a simple understanding of the science of threat assessment will produce the most logical talking points to motivate each group.

    This is why the Democrats “change” mantra was so effective, and also why threats of imminent terrorist attacks have been so effective for Republicans.

    The science behind this is quite fascinating. It basically tells us that when someone says I can’t understand why you think that way, well, they really can’t. Their brain just doesn’t work like that. Thus, the political divide.

    However, everything I’ve studied so far indicates that the left and the right are intimately dependent upon each other from an evolutionary standpoint. They literally can’t exist without each other, as much as the two sides would hate to admit it.

    I would hope that simply knowing this, knowing that what you believe about politics is hardwired, it might help greatly with working toward the greater good.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 2/27/2009 @ 9:52 am

  58. Chuck: This may manifest in adults but most younger people embrace politics for no reason other than peer pressure. That is why many on the Right see liberals (wrongly, in the case of adults) as purely infantile emos. I’m sure the Left bases much of its incorrect view of the Right on what it sees in younger conservatives as well.

    I don’t disagree with you basic premise, but believe it does not explain how younger people come to their views, which is in fact infantile.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 2/27/2009 @ 9:59 am

  59. A genetic predisposition to prefer certain situations and conflicts over others is certainly part of our makeup. It is literaly in our adaptive genes from day one.

    One could suspect that the differences between conservative and liberal gene makeups might be in degrees of preference for:

    -order over chaos;
    -strength over weakness;
    -tradition and custom over invention and experimentation;
    -a bird-in-hand over two in the bush;
    -fight rather than flight;
    -independence over collectivity;
    -prudence over risk-taking;
    -fortitude over lack of courage;
    -temperance over intemperance;
    -justice over injustice;
    -virtue over vice;
    -truth over falsity;
    -etc, etc;

    the sum of which favors true conservatism as being by many degrees the more stable, positive, and satisfactory, but obviously the less exciting, contrary and adventurous, especially with OPM, as we see now with Obama.

    Comment by mannning — 2/27/2009 @ 11:43 am

  60. Manning,
    please you know better. Having served in the Armed forces I can assure you that courage has nothing to do with political viewpoints.

    Comment by funny man — 2/27/2009 @ 11:55 am

  61. The duality favors survival of species. Neither faction of the whole has more value than the other, despite claims to the contrary. This is how we evolved.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 2/27/2009 @ 12:01 pm

  62. RM wrote: CPAC was not set up to deal with these questions. But it just might start a conversation…

    I’ve been following CPAC and IMO it’s just more of the same. Could you reference something that *might* be a conversation starter?

    Not these agenda items, I fear.

    Targets of the Fairness Doctrine?

    Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals are Destroying the American Election System

    Hon. John Bolton
    Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations

    Comment by HyperIon — 2/27/2009 @ 12:29 pm

  63. Manning:
    Courage seems to manifest all across the political spectrum. The Red Army in 1942, the Chinese in 1950, the Viet Cong in 1967, were not lacking in courage despite being communists or led by communists. Similarly, the Wehrmacht never lacked for courage, nor did the Japanese Imperial army and navy.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 2/27/2009 @ 12:57 pm

  64. Prominent business people who screw up get their names & reputations tarnished in public. Congress-people who screw up and cost the taxpayers pensions, real estate equity, increased taxes, and sleepless nights figuring out how to pay fo it all get re-elected to regulate more.

    Comment by P. Aaron — 2/27/2009 @ 1:28 pm

  65. P.Aaron,

    It’s all about accountability.

    Every American should jump for joy when a prominent business person is held accountable for his illegal, screw up behavior. This is especially true if the business person destroys his employees 401k accounts in the process of illegally defrauding his investors, as Ken Lay did. Thankfully, he was arrested and convicted. Accountability and Justice served.

    Accountability for Bernie Madoff is a bit less clear. Bernie has admitted that his investment scheme was “one big lie”. He has confessed to the FBI about defrauding his investors of 50 BILLION dollars, saying, “It’s all gone.” The aftermath of the screw up has a tragic human face; two of Bernie’s more unstable clients have killed themselves after learning about losing everything.

    Besides having his name and reputation publicly tarnished the punishment for Bernie’s screw up, so far, has been house arrest. Armed guards have recently been placed at his modest home because he had been seen breaking the terms of his imprisonment.

    Accountability for Bernie? Possibly. He is expected to begin trial in mid March. If Bernie is convicted of the crime he has confessed to Accountability and Justice will be served.

    As for Congressmen, they need accountability too. The first thing we can do is remove them from office. When their behavior is illegal, they should be arrested and tried.

    A few unsavory congressional characters:
    Mark Foley
    Dane Crane
    Gerry Studds
    Dan Rostenkowski

    If these and all other congressional criminals went unpunished would that mean letting Madoff off the hook was o.k.? W

    We need :
    Accountability for Democrats.
    Accountability for Republicans.
    Accountability for “white collar” crime.
    Accountability for “common” criminals.

    Something is wrong when our political leaders are routinely let off the hook for their criminality. Let’s raise the accountability bar for EVERYONE.

    Comment by bsjones — 2/27/2009 @ 2:49 pm

  66. Please quit taking a degree-to-which statement as cannonical. Such factors obviously change with time and circumstance, just as genes evolve.
    One or more of these factors might dominate at one point in time due to influences beyond the pale. These must be long-term trends, not extrordinary exceptions.

    Fortitude IS courage: the argument you pose is merely that there is some degree of fortitude shown on the left on occasion, and so there is. Big deal.

    It is the balance over time that is telling, not the exceptional moment, hour, day, week, or month for anyone, whether they be conservative or liberal.

    Men in combat can do adrenalin-driven, extrodinary, uncharacteristic, highly unlikely, and courageous things under the stress of battle.

    Remove that immediate combat stress and there is normally a major downshift back in the direction they are set up for in the long term.

    Comment by mannning — 2/27/2009 @ 4:51 pm

  67. michael reynolds: I am reminded of the standard practice of the Rusian military to back up their front line troop with a second troop whose duty it was to ensure that the front guys kept going forward. The sure threat of death from the rear made it quite “courageous” to keep going towards the enemy, perhaps with better odds of survival.

    I am reminded of the Cong practice of holding whole villages hostage to the performance of dragooned members.

    In my view, the average soldiers in the wars you cite were not fired up to courageous actions by the ideals of Communism, Imperialism, or Democratic Socialism, however romantic that thought might be to some, but rather to the idea of defense of their families and homeland against the enemy regardless of political overlays.

    Their specific performance on the battlefield may well be attributed to the group influences of their comrades to the right and left of them, or to some form of coersion or even drugs. Fight or be shot, for instance is a rather strong stimulus to courage.

    Comment by mannning — 2/27/2009 @ 5:20 pm

  68. P. Aron,
    One more thing…

    Nixon had his name and reputation tarnished for “screwing up”.
    Ford pardoned him.
    I, for one, would have preferred to see Nixon on trial and in jail if convicted.

    Do you think there is any relationship between Ford’s pardon of Nixon, and the unpunished and wide ranging criminality we see from our political class today?

    Comment by bsjones — 2/27/2009 @ 6:46 pm

  69. Mercifully, CPAC2009 will end. What an absolute embarrassment. If these are the people that will lead the Conservative movement then the movement is in bigger trouble then previously thought.

    Seriously I give up. Tom Delay caught on tape hoping for a depression, Michelle Bachmann and her oh so hip “you be da man Michael”, Bolton masturbating over the thought of Chicago being nuked, hissing and booing Tucker Carlson, all topped off with Rush and his Defender of the Constitution Award. Were the Tin Foil hats free with the registration? And you wonder why the message doesn’t resonate.

    Comment by Hyde Park Libertarian — 2/27/2009 @ 7:38 pm

  70. As far as perceived arrogance goes…

    “There’s nothing wrong about being right.”

    We do have a time-tested real world answers to economic issues. Market economics DO work and they work well.

    What we have seen over the past 20 years is how much Keynesian economics it takes in order to bring down the Market economics balloon.

    Our current crisis starts with too much government spending and the sub-prime lending. It’s not difficult to figure out, really.

    There needs to another American Revolution. Soap box, ballot box, cartridge box.

    The soap box is endangered by the “Fairness Doctrine” - whatever way it’s implemented.

    The ballot box has been compromised by radical left groups like ACORN.

    And the cartridge box is under attack - banning military pattern weapons, ammo taxes.

    Writing is on the wall if one cares to look at it.

    “We have seen the enemy, and it is us.”

    Comment by Mike — 2/28/2009 @ 12:16 pm

  71. Good post, Mike.

    I am afraid that I have become quite pessimistic about the future of our country. We are descending into a dreamland, pushed by a majority that wants the good times to keep on rolling, paid for by the government, of course.
    This seemingly rapid descent into socialism and general poverty has no solution that can be effected in time to prevent total disaster.

    True conservatism could offer good answers, but that medicine tastes awful to the good-timers, and even if that happened somehow in 2010 and again in 2014, it will be far, far too late to avoid catastrophe, I am coming to believe. What happens this year will seal the deal for socialism, especially if universal healthcare comes into being soon. That is precisely why all the hurry from the liberals–get’er done!

    Obama lied, the economy died!

    Comment by mannning — 2/28/2009 @ 7:05 pm

  72. To actually answer your question, I’d suggest a “do you know where you come from?” quiz on the web. Give a short series of questions that anybody who had a basic set of knowledge about western philosophy and history should be able to answer. For wrong answers, provide:
    1. A list of really cool things this fellow invented or did with links to more detail.
    2. A small point regarding how can one be truly diverse if you don’t know your own society’s foundation.
    3. An invitation to participate in a sort of intro to the conservative tradition group.

    Now go off to some youth oriented sites that have cheap ad spots (look at project wonderful for instance) and buy up some ad space.

    If Obama doesn’t bankrupt us, this is the sort of thing that I’ll be doing once my wife’s startup finishes turning the corner. The idea of doing something outside of school to teach is not bad. In the end though it’s action that will count.

    Comment by TMLutas — 2/28/2009 @ 11:02 pm

  73. (Sorry, I’m unable to read all the replies so forgive if I’m just repeating.)

    “I had an interesting discussion last night with my 17 year old cousin about the problem with conservatism today and was surprised that he pretty much nailed the reasons conservatism is in such bad odor with the public and specifically, with his generation. He sees nothing positive coming from conservatives like Hannity, Coulter, and Rush (just picking three examples). What he sees – and I am forced to agree with him – is an overarching arrogance that brooks no discussion and has little room for disagreement.”

    That paragraph is laughable. I can’t believe you fell for or believe that crap. Switch conservative to liberal and Hannity, Coulter and Rush to the usual-suspects and — Wow-zaa! It’s exactly what’s wrong with liberalism!

    Dig deeper and find out why the discussion wasn’t about the problem with liberalism; why so many liberal commentators are downright vicious, why there is no room for debate — you’re either FOR liberalism, or you’re an ignorant, hatefull, hayseed, why if you manage to get a word in edgewise you will be pilloried by the press (and by the President) …

    There’s probably no room for that discussion. Another topic for discussion: Why are conservatives always defending themselves? Why is that? We can’t ALL be negative, arrogant people unwilling to discuss the issues. So what are we defending ourselves AGAINST, exactly?

    The discussion wasn’t about liberalism, it was about conservatism. But in orderto understand that, you would have had to read what I wrote. Substituting what I wrote for what you want me to write is so stupid as to be beyond belief.

    I have written enough about liberalism to fill a couple of books - don’t need no slack jawed numbskull with mouth agape and drool coming out of the sides to tell me about the faults of the left. I can’t tell you how incredibly amatuerish and shallow you sound - unbelievable.

    Next time, I promise to make all the words two syllables or less - just for you.


    Comment by DoorHold — 3/3/2009 @ 1:01 pm

  74. aric; you err when you assume that I’m trying to “win friends and influence people”. I’m shooting off my mouth. You’re free to believe/dis-believe what you want.

    Comment by jazplyr — 3/4/2009 @ 7:12 am

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