In the past few weeks a number of well-connected, celebrity pundits--what we might call the elite--have opined about how ignorant, backward, and self-destructive we unsophisticated rubes who support Newt Gingrich are. People like myself (and Thomas Sowell) are destroying conservatism and working for the election of Barack Obama, according to the great conservative thinkers of our time, well represented by the ever reasonable Ann Coulter and always insightful Bret Stephens. We knuckle-draggers who gloss over Newt Gingrich's personal failings are, according to our self-appointed intellectual betters, missing the big picture.
It's a small mind that sees the election of Mitt Romney (or Rick Santorum) as the big picture. Barack Obama is not the cause of the problems our country faces now, he is the result of the problems our country has allowed to fester for decades. Our economic crisis, our waning influence in the world, and the unraveling of our civil society are the result of decades of destruction of our culture from within by Marxism, Liberalism, Libertine-ism and post-modernism. Our dire economic straits and political dysfunction are symptoms of the cultural decline Americans, and specifically conservatives, have ignored for far too long. We cannot save America through policies alone but through a re-dedication of ourselves to the American values that made us the greatest civilization in the world.
Romney supporters, when they take time out from denigrating anyone who doesn't support their candidate, claim that electing a successful businessman who will tweak our tax policy is the solution to America's ills. Their proposal is that we happily accept Romney's promise to slightly slow our decline by helping the productive minority of the country make more money which will be used to support the lavish, unaffordable welfare state that is collapsing our society.
Am I the one missing the big picture when I say that's not a solution?
In 2009, 51% of Americans paid no federal income taxes and worse, 30% actually made money using wealth redistribution gimmicks like the Earned Income Tax Credit. 30% of Americans are profiting from our tax code, more than half of Americans pay no taxes and are demanding more from the government. Do we solve that with some moderate tax policy, or is this a moral and cultural issue?
The Occupy Wall Street movement has stated plainly that their goal is violent, Arab Spring-style revolution and they're actively collapsing our city governments through a Cloward-Piven-like strategy of forcing cities to bankrupt themselves policing and cleaning up the devastation of these protests. This civil unrest is not only encouraged by the Left, including politicians in the Democratic Party, it is lionized by our media.
Will Romney's vast business experience solve this problem? Or will his known antipathy toward our 2nd Amendment rights ultimately encourage more violence?
A 32-year-old woman in New Jersey was arrested for molesting a 5-year-old she was babysitting and streaming the abuse on the Internet. If you read many of the news articles you'll find a number of commenters who claim this child rapist is a victim of the men to whom she sent child porn. They claim we need to give her treatment and "help" her with her problems. Can this moral decay in our society be fixed with pro-business policies?
The reality is that America's economic and political problems are symptoms of a cultural problem that no candidate but Gingrich is dealing with. The other candidates have been looking at parts of the puzzle and advocate rearranging the pieces for temporary solutions. But we need a larger movement to return to the American values that would solve those problems. I'm a capitalist and I guarantee you that I'm to the right of many Romney supporters economically. But capitalism isn't what makes America great; American greatness is what allows capitalism to flourish.
That's an important distinction between the candidates. I am to to the right of Gingrich on many issues but I stand with him in the belief that America's decline is not inevitable. We do not need to accept waning influence in the world or decreasing standards of living; we are allowing it to happen. We're allowing it to happen by abandoning the big ideas and big dreams of a country that was founded on the idea that every American can be exceptional and society's only responsibility is to ensure that we have the freedom to be exceptional.
More than five thousand years of Western Civilization, from the mysterious Etruscans to the heroic age of Homer to the Republic of Rome to the Enlightenment and everything in between, has led to this one moment in history where one nation - our nation - stands as the pinnacle of Western tradition. America has been and still is the light that shines in a world of darkness and we can continue to be only if we reject national decline. Will we allow Marxism, Liberalism, and post-modernism to end that tradition here as we scramble to postpone our collapse long enough to pass that doom from us to our children? Or will we embrace the big ideas and the spirit that animates them, pushing ourselves to reclaim our greatness? For me that's the decision and it's not swayed by what celebrities think about the "electability" of candidates.
Newt Gingrich articulates the conservative ideals we need to reintroduce to so many in our society. Self-reliance, industriousness, and patriotism; these are the virtues that will save America. Conservatives must do more than elect a politician that might believe these things, or some of these things; we must find spokespeople that can make coherent, persuasive arguments for conservatism not just in politics and economics, but in our culture. Without that, we cannot emerge from our current malaise as anything but a second world country violently divided by class warfare. Conservatism is not about being pro-business or anti-business, it's about a cultural understanding of who we are as a people and a rejection of the chaotic forces of post-modern America which seek to destroy our people from within.
Barack Obama is a symptom of those forces, not the leader of them, and defeating him is only one part of a larger battle no one except Gingrich is willing to take on. That's the real big picture and the only rubes destroying Conservatism are people who refuse to acknowledge that.