William F. Buckley, Jr. on saying “no”
There’s a letter to the editor in today’s Topeka Capital-Journal from Sarah Karl. The retired school teacher writes that politicians are acting like children. “The Republican Party, at all levels, is at the 2-year-old stage of development – focused on saying ‘no,’” Karl says. “Two-year-olds are beginning to realize there is a world around them. However, they want the world to continue meeting all their needs and keep them at the center of attention.”
We have also heard many members of the media say similar things about conservatives in Washington, who have been saying “no” to mcuh of Barack Obama’s agenda. The implication is that these conservatives are acting immature and they have no program of their own.
I don’t know Karl. However, chances are that William F. Buckley, Jr. was far more intelligent and mature than she. Nevertheless, he advocated that conservatives say “no.” Here is what he wrote at the end of “Up From Liberalism” (1959):
“Call it a No-Program, if you will, but adopt it for your very own. I will not cede more power to the state, I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not?
“It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free.”
Keeping Obama and the other socialists/fascists at bay and keeping our freedom is not tantamount to acting like a baby–it’s the adult thing to do.
Kevin Groenhagen is the author of “What Really Happened: The Story of Clinton Inc.’s Efforts to Rewrite Bill Clinton’s Record on Iraq and Terrorism.”