On the GOP, Rick Moran, Birthers, and Conservative philosophy
I apoligize if I ruffle any feathers. I am new to RedState, this is my first post. I mean no offense to anyone who may think differently from myself, I just wish to enter the debate. I have read the site for almost a year now and followed it loyally every day but enough of my own apologies, here are my thoughts:
Even as the GOP stand to benefit from the internal strife between the coastal liberals and the Midwest conservatives in the Democratic Party, the Republican’s are experiencing a far more heated and potentially far more destructive conflict within their own ranks. In the 1960’s William F. Buckley Jr., a man who leaned much farther right than many of his collogues and modern contemporaries, purged the radical elements from the Republican Party, most notably the John Birch Society. Founded by businessman and conspiracy theorist Robert Welch, the John Birch Society had become a haven for reactionary and delusional elements of the Republican Party. The society then had to be dealt with, as they damnant quodnon intelligent. Without the radical, delusional, conspiratorial, and racial temperaments of the John Birch Society infecting the Republican discourse, Buckley, Kirk, Goldwater, and other Republican intellectuals and leaders of the 1960’s were able to build a political coalition, broad in interest, but yet rooted in conservative thought, ideals, and values, that would dominate the political landscape for another thirty years.
I apologies for the length of the bountiful soliloquy above but it serves to a point. On ne change pas un équipe qui gagne, French for “One does not change a winning team”. While I admire and support the earnest push for a return of conservative principles in a party that has honestly lost its way, George W. Bush, while surely a principled, honest, man of convictions, was ultimately less than successful as a president, and may have caused the some of the most damage any president has ever caused his party short of Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter (In the modern era at least). So back to the point I am slowly coming around to, mainly because I know it is contentious and reaction to many opinions on this matter have been passionate if not perhaps ill informed and in the worst case blatantly vitriolic and dumb (Again not that I mean to point fingers at anyone in particular, though some current “conservative” best sellers and Television/Radio hosts may fit into the latter grouping). So the point is, the GOP needs a renaissance, a reboot, and a retooling, but one definitely not conducted by David Frum (I can say I’m biased against Canadians running the GOP… just kidding but Frum… no way Jose… too much time with Bush, too much time listening to Michael Gerson). What will this re-do… do exactly? Conservative intelligencia need a good crack across the head, as do the grass roots. The grass roots of the GOP need to commit to a little bit more reading, I recommend The Conservative Mind, The Conscious of a Conservative, Reflections on the Revolution in France, and for some flair read Theodore Dalrymple’s columns in City Journal (Dalrymple is hilarious, insightful, and has a sophisticated yet common touch, I mean he is British….). The “conservative elite” or intelligencia, the David Brooks types, the David Frums, the pin heads and pencil pusher types at the newspapers and magazines, the writers like Michelle Malking and Ann Coulter, and the talking heads of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh ( I leave out Michael Savage because I’m not really sure what he stands for anymore or even if he has any listeners anymore, besides, he seems to be a bigger deal in Great Britain than in the U.S. anymore…), well they need to calm their rhetoric… Limbaughcoultermalkinbeck (That sounds like a good name for a rich German ale…) and in the case of Frum and Brooks and the likes, they need to honestly rethink their positions, and realize that having a spine is not a bad thing and that amoebas are pretty low on the food chain. Essentially, the radical right needs to calm down just a bit and the neo-neo-neo con types, who think their right but are really just about left enough to be wrong, need to revaluate just what party they belong to and re-read also some conservative cannon (Goldwater, Kirk, Locke, and company).
This brings me to my final point within this greater point. In regards to the bickering over and with Rick Moran, he does and does not have a point, just like many people in his line of thought. The GOP does need to focus on issues not “death panels”, “birth certificates” and really the whole “Obama speech to our school children”, however, Van Jones is fair game, especially the whole czar system and its circumvention of federalism and checks and balances. Additionally we should be hitting harder on fiscal policy, on tort reform, on issues regarding nuclear energy, cap and trade, reduced government influence in education, etc, we can return to a mix of more recent policy issues and good old conservative bread and butter. That is where our grass roots should be focusing, our tea parties and town hall events should but hitting on these issues, and not some hysterical fear that President Obama is a communist or even socialist or delusions of the like. Rick Moran was right, at least in part so I cannot give him much credit, the issue is not liberty versus tyranny in right versus left. The real issue is one that goes back to the French Revolution and the intellectual movements that lead up to it, it is David Hume verses Jean-Jacques Rousseau, it is the Empiracists (mostly conservative) versus the Rationalists (for the most part liberal although Spinoza had some interesting thoughts that have influenced some libertarian and conservative lines of thought). This isn’t a battle of isms but a battle of ists. Conservatives must act upon and argue from empirical thought, from experience, from history, from what we have learned, that is where our roots are, those are our first principles. Let the liberals fantacize and attempt to prove that which has not been tested, let them buy into delusional hysteria, that is that which is theirs. Conservatism stands upon the solid ground of centuries of experiential thought, observation, and scholarly study. If the Rationalist win, which polls show the Democrats aren’t winning, then perhaps something new will be discovered though more than likely something will be discovered not to work and the people of the United States will still turn to the conservatives, the empiricists to rebuild our society on the sturdy foundations of history. And if the Republican’s retake the House of Representatives and Senate in 2010 or 2012, well we have a lot of work to do.