Sunday, December 16, 2012

Culture Wars, Part II--Schools and Socialism

In the prior post, I briefly covered two topics, acceptance that conservatives have lost the culture war, and what that meant in terms of the loss of cultural touchstones.  This post addresses the how and why.

How did this happened? We let it. We let liberals, by which I mean socialists, take over the schools and destroy our youth. The nanny state believes that it, through the schools, is the proper authority to raise and guide children, not the parents and extended family. I laughed when I heard that Hillary Clinton wrote a book called It Takes a Village, because even as a teenager I knew the premise implied in the title was ridiculous, but I'm not laughing any more because I now know that there are a great number of people who actually believe that.

Why did this happen?  Because the socialists waged total war, while the conservatives sought a limited action.  Socialists fought on every front all the time, always making sure to keep an eye on the long game as well, whereas the conservatives were focused on the individual battles and merely lamented about gradually losing the war.  Ask any Vietnam vet how well a limited action works out in the long run.  And the ultimate long-term goal was to gain control of the schools, because compulsory education guarantees that virtually every young, malleable mind will be able to be shaped by teachers, without the children realizing it, until they become just like the teachers.

For a more specific example, the Left fought to have prayer removed from schools for decades, and have achieved almost total victory in this.  They lost many court cases along the way, but always they probed for a new angle, a different judge, and gradually they chipped away at a ritual that was once a given and have turned it into a historical footnote in most districts.  Having accomplished this, they now attack the most sacred of the American Christian cows--Christmas itself.  How many districts now insist on parity between Christmas and Kwanzaa, or have banned any sort of Christmas celebration?  Does anyone actually know what Kwanzaa is and celebrate it for those reasons?  Search Ann Coulter's column archives for a devastating indictment of Kwanzaa and its founder--the short version is that the holiday's roots are about as genuine as a three-dollar bill and that it not-so-secretly promotes radical socialist redistribution.

Volumes could be written on how public schools have been subverted to left-wing ideology, but I don't have the desire to tackle all the evils at this time.  For my purposes at this time, it is sufficient to acknowledge that this is the case.

The next post in this series will be Culture Wars, Part III--The Triumph of Relativism and Divinity of Self.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Culture Wars, Part I--Where We First Went Wrong

In the ongoing culture wars, conservatives continue to be routed by liberals.  The recent election proves this, where a slim majority reelected a man--Barack Obama--who has made negative net progress on the economy in the past four years over a man--Mitt Romney--who has rebuilt numerous now-successful businesses.  Now, we could argue a great deal about who on the Right is to blame for this specific failure, but the truth is that it is all of us.  We have ceded the entire war on culture and values in the name of political correctness.  To be sure, other elements are in play--which I hope to discuss later--but we have failed the Founding Fathers.

We have allowed separation of church and state to be twisted to mean virtual banishment of religion, especially Christianity, from the public sphere.  We have failed to inculcate entire generations with mores and norms that were a given for centuries in Western Civilization.  How many children or young adults can describe the framework or the meanings of even a fraction of Aesop's fables?  Would they see the ant as a horrible villain and the grasshopper as oppressed, or would they even understand that so much of the current culture encourages them to become grasshoppers?  Would they jeer the mouse for removing the thorn from the lion's paw?  What about other former cultural touchstones?  Would they understand Hansel and Gretel is an object lesson on poor planning and disobeying one's parents, or would they decry the violence of the story as too toxic for children?  Would they understand the parable of the prodigal son as the love of a father (and God) for his child, or see it as a template for endless largess for the wealthy to the poor, even if one is poor after having squandered his own wealth so foolishly?
This is the first post in a series on this topic.  Next will be Culture Wars, Part II--Schools and Socialism.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts on the RNC, and Paul Ryan

I watched or listened to a fair bit of the Republican National Convention the past few days.  Now that the convention is over, I have a number of thoughts.  Some of them may not be strictly convention related due to the gap since my last post, especially some of the material on Paul Ryan, but the focus will be the RNC.

Overall, I think the convention was very successful.  There was a concerted, focused effort to build up Mitt Romney and illuminate the shortcomings of Barack Obama, and I imagine the organizers are probably, and rightfully, quite pleased with themselves today.  And now to my thoughts, organized in almost no particular order (Ryan is last for a reason, though).

1) Ann Romney--There were multiple speeches by non-political figures, including members of Romney's church with stories that cannot fail to move a person with any sense of compassion, but Ann Romney's speech was the most memorable, and the most helpful, to the cause of making Mitt Romney more approachable for those who only knew him as that rich Mormon guy from Massachusetts.  Frankly, I liked him more after her speech--and I already was finding him more likable than I did in the heat of the primaries or even a couple months ago.  She has shown that she will be an asset to Mitt Romney as First Lady.

2) Clint Eastwood--The most talked about speech of the convention right now, a bit of political commentary and improv comedy that has extremely polarized responses--I caught it on the web later.  Ace at Ace of Spades HQ is a huge fan, as is Sean Hannity.  Most liberal commentators are not.  While I personally appreciated what he was trying to do, and think it was funny, it certainly was a bit of a non-sequitur.  If it gets people to laugh at Obama, and opens their eyes to his flaws, then it was a success.  I don't think it will cause any harm to the Romney brand, though Clint may find himself invited to a lot less parties.

3) Mitt Romney--I did not see or hear all of Mitt's speech, but I've read both left-wing and right-wing takes on it.  With the exception of actual Democratic operatives (CNN includes high-ranking members of the DNC in its review of the the convention), the consensus seems to be that the speech advanced the cause of his candidacy.  Some of the more right-wing pundits believe it was Mitt's best speech--though he does not exactly have the reputaion of being a barn-burner on the stump.  Nonetheless, he did not commit any gaffes, and nothing else that happened this week appears to have harmed him.  Incidentally, getting ahead of Obama on going to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Isaac is a brilliant move.

4) Governor Susana Martinez--This speech was a tour de force, and was tied for the second best speech of the convention that I heard.  A remarkable life story, a conversion that comes from a small epiphany--not like Paul on the road to Damascus, but a sudden realization that her own values align with conservatives and the Republicans, not the liberals and the Democrats--this is a story that wins converts, not just voters for a single cycle.  Her delivery of the speech was very impressive, and I sincerely hope she remains prominent in the party.

5) Senator Marco Rubio--I missed this speech as well (Thursday's schedule was not conducive to following the convention), but once again he is gaining lots of accolades.  He is one of the true rising stars in the GOP, and has acquited himself quite well in the Senate as well as a speaker--but I still need to see a lot more before I am ready to nominate him for President.  Having read the transcript and heard the speech, he did well, very well indeed.  I do have high hopes for Senator Rubio, but his time has not come yet.

6)  Condoleezza Rice--This speech I rank with Governor Martinez's, although for different reasons.  Ms. Rice's story is in some ways the most remarkable of any of the speakers, summed up in her one line about going from Jim Crow Birmingham to the highest diplomatic position and most prestigious cabinet office of the United States.  Furthermore, she gave this speech without benefit of a teleprompter, which is almost unheard of for a scripted speech in the modern political environment.  It is easy to see why many in the Republican party, especially the more moderate elements, are drooling at the prospect of her running for office.  It is not clear, however, that she has a desire to hold office.

7) Representative Paul Ryan--To my thinking, Paul Ryan was the true star of the convention.  Krauthammer wrote a piece a couple weeks ago that echoes my own thoughts, namely that Ryan is set up to be the standard bearer for the Republican party for a generation.  I disagree only in that Ryan might actually be a two generation figure.  If Romney does become the next President, and can in fact manage to turn around the economy, Ryan would then be able to stroll into the White House in another 8 years, since he will have played a significant part in said turnaround.  After 2 terms as vice president and 2 terms as president, Ryan would sill be under 60--a younger, wonkier Reagan figure who could still have a strong voice for another 20 years.

And then there is his speech--a speech that was filled with pointed truths (don't believe the fact-checkers--everything they harp on is either factually accurate or a matter of opinion) that several have called "devastating" and led Ace (hardly a font of unrelenting optimism) to pronounce the election "over".  (Ace is feeling his oats a little less since the Nielsen numbers are in, but he still seems pretty positive.)  The word I used at the time, listening to the speech, and that I've also seen used by others including Ace, was "evisceration".  It was utterly damning of Obama's policies and failures, with both national elements and personal touches.  Like many other speakers, he allowed for former Obama supporters to save face by not voting for him in 2012, but no other speaker that I am aware of managed to destroy Obama's record so thoroughly in the process.

I thought Perry had fire in the belly at the onset of his campaign, but his nomination was not destined to be.  Romney, I believe, will be adequate to the current challenges, but it is Ryan, with fire in the belly to spare, who can lead the Republican party, and conservative philosophy, into the future--and as of this moment, I do not see anyone on the political landscape who would make me happier in that role.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Executive Privilege and Fast and Furious

With all due respect to the offices of Attorney General of the United States and President of the United States;

Mr. Holder, President Obama, the two of you are a disgrace to this country, and anything short of impeachment and a criminal trial is too good for you.

Executive privilege has been asserted by the Obama administration in response to multiple subpoenas from the Congressional Oversight Committee regarding documents from the program known as Fast and Furious.  In case the reader has not been following this story, it is the operation run by the Department of Justice through the ATF that involved selling guns to known straw purchasers (illegal gun buyers) who would then sell or otherwise provide these weapons to the Mexican drug cartels.  Another brief summary of the particulars of the operation can be found in this post by Dedicated Tenther.  As a bonus, that link contains DT's thoughts on what should happen to those responsible.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Wisconsin Matters

I will try not to echo here what has been said in other parts of the blogosphere regarding Walker's victory in the recall effort yesterday in Wisconsin.  I do think that there is much truth in the notion that this election is more important than the Presidential election this November.  I have listed before my reasons why a conservative victory in November is critical, especially with regard to upcoming Supreme Court vacancies.  In terms of what Joe Public will see and hear and be conscious of, Romney versus Obama will be the story of the year.

However, in terms of a true shockwave to the American political system, Walker's victory likely heralds a sea-change.

The Longest Day

Plenty of other tributes out there today to commemmorate D-Day, the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany and ultimately, World War II.  Veterans and even their widows are becoming very scarce, so thank one if you know one.  Band of Brothers is a good introduction to the chaos, bravery and heroism of that Day of Days, but is only one small part of the entire story.  The Longest Day features several stories and offers a larger view, both the book and the movie.  If you have any family or friends who don't understand the significance of this day, take a moment to teach them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The die is cast

With the results of the most recent primaries in the books and Gingrich (unsurprisingly) supsending his campaign, the GOP primary is essntially a fait accompli, and we can get to the 6 1/2 month slugfest that is the general election.

I admit that I had many resevations about Mitt Romney, and that I still have some.  He is not the second coming of Reagan, he is not what I hope to have with Rick Perry, but he is the nominee.  Romney is not as conservative as I would like (or as Ann Coulter has been screeching from her blog for the last 4 months), but neither is he as moderate as many feared, and he has already shown a willingness to go after Obama aggressively.  There will be no McCain style, "my good friend," kid-glove treatment from the Romney campaign.

Newt Gingrich said earlier today that while he personally believes he would have been the better candidate, that even he must unite behind Romney and that defeating Obama MUST be the priority.  I would add that almost as critical is securing a majority in the Senate.  It's going to take serious work from both branches to undo the damage from the past 4 years.  There's also the minor matter of possibly as many as four Supreme Court appointments coming up in the next term, and a court packed with liberal justices for the next few decades could do tremendous harm to this country.

I will not get needlessly dramatic about the importance of this election.  The continued growth of the deficit and national debt may become an existential threat if it is not addressed and ultimately reversed, something the current administration has addressed in much the same manner that a 2 year old addresses having to go the doctor's office with a temper tantrum.  The Republic will not fall if Obama is re-elected--but I fear that American exceptionalism will be put on life support, that our economy may be crippled to the point of an entire generation being lost to rehabilitating it, and that an unconstitutional expansion of executive powers will continue, more reminiscent of Roman tyrants than the limited powers envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Remembering Breitbart

I'm not a blogger of note, and I never met Andrew Breitbart.  Others have written far more moving tributes, and more meaningful tributes, than I could.  But the conservative movement has suffered a tremendous loss with his passing.

However, I am certain that he would wish for people to carry on his tradition of challenging false narratives, maintaining intellectual honesty, and supporting all who are helping to advance the truth.  I am reminded of the famous line by Jimmy Valvano, "Don't give up.  Don't ever give up."  Well, if the response of the blogosphere is anything to go by over the last few days, no one is giving up.  Andrew's work was not done, because it never could be done.

What he was, was the Prometheus of the conservative movement.  He brought the vital spark that first pierced the darkness of the liberal media oligarchy, giving rise to hundreds and thousands of new flames to burn away the lies.

I am Andrew Breitbart.  And so are you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reviewing The GOP Field And The Crank's Pick

This post is not a comprehensive review of all declared candidates; rather, it is of the six major candidates who remain: Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, and Santorum.  I will comment at least briefly on each, but I may as well make this clear up front--I have considered myself a Perry supporter since he jumped in, and intend to continue to support him as long as he is a candidate.  I will make my reasons for this clear in my comments.  I will not say I endorse Perry, because I don't have sufficient influence for it to matter, but if I did, I would.

Huntsman: I have not conversed with any registered Republican who has any enthusiasm for him.  I've heard plenty of avowed liberals tout him as the best candidate in the field, though.  I do not think Huntsman is a particularly good GOP candidate, though his record is fairly decent and he has been blasted unfairly for having been Obama's choice for ambassador for China.  The man has no real charisma for me, and I have yet to hear him articulate a meaningful vision for how he will get this country back in order.  To me, he is an also-ran and should drop out.

Paul: I believe he is dangerously naive in his views of foreign policy.  As I understand him, he would overturn the entirety of American foreign policy going back to Monroe, enacting an isolationist doctrine.  I cannot support this philosophy even in the abstract, and definitely not when taking the particulars of the current world political environment into consideration.  Given that I believe in a moral authority and duty to remain a superpower and force for good in the world, this disqualifies Paul for me.  There is also the questionable (to put it politely) views he shows towards Israel, the seeming lack of discomfort he feels with being supported by white supremicist groups, and the newsletters he claims to have no knowledge of despite his name appearing on them and the income he derived from them.  I do appreciate many of his ideas to limit federal power and reform the domestic agenda, but being this is 2012 and not 1796, we need someone with plans for dealing with problems both domestic and foreign.

Gingrich: Newt has several problems.  First, his personal life and scandals--the GOP does not get a free pass on dubious moral behavior the way a Democratic candidate does.  Second, his legislative history is somewhat checkered--he failed to push his advantage as Speaker as far as he should have.  He did help push through meaningful reform of welfare, and there were budget surpluses under his leadership, but in both cases he likely could have extracted even more from Clinton.  His immigration policy is awfully lenient and sounds a lot like amnesty to me, without solving the border problem first.  All this aside, however, he understands the need for a pro-active foreign policy, he has some ideas for attacking entitlements (though spit the bit with attacking Paul Ryan's plan), and he's not afraid to call out Obama or the media for their mistakes.  I can support him to some degree, but I'm not convinced enough of the American public would, especially with months of non-stop media attacks.

Santorum: Excellent social credentials, but weak on fiscal matters.  He was destroyed in his home state in his last election, which doesn't speak well for his chances nationally.  He has shown new viability in the past month, but it is not clear to me he can win the primary, yet alone the national election.  I am not enough of an accountant to determine if his tax policies will work or not, and while I am ignorant of his specific plans for entitlement reform; his record is one of someone who will make changes, but is also unwilling to cause too much pain as he is compassionate in the modern political sense.  I can support him more strongly than Gingrich, but he would not be my first choice.

Romney: The perpetual candidate, Mitt is complex.  Despite campaigning for essentially 6 years, he cannot crack even 30% support in his own party.  There is little doubt that he has benefitted from the large number of candidates, dividing the opposition against him.  He was quite successful in the business world before becoming a politician, however it is questionable if that experience is as useful as it might have been had he built a company from the ground up instead of gutting failing companies and selling the parts for profit.  True, he has turned some companies around, but it's not as if he can sell off a third of the states to make the rest of the country more economically sound.  His policies and views seem quite opportunistic and prone to change; but the image he projects is one who does so out of expediency rather than a genuine conversion to a new point of view.  He is the moderate Republican equivalent of John Kerry, only without the unseembly sanctimonious attitude.  He has shown an awfully thin skin when challenged or called out, whether the charges are legitimate or not.  Most damning of all is the gruesome abomination known as Romneycare.  If Pawlenty had used the opportunity in the early debates to press the attack on Obamneycare, he might have crippled Romney's campaign months ago.  Instead, if nominated Romney will automatically cede away the ability to attack Obama's signature legislation, an incredibly unpopular and ill-conceived bundle of statutes that, unlike the economy (which Obama does own now, although quite a few of the problems predate him), could be easily and wholly hung around Obama's neck without reservation by almost any other candidate.  I am not convinced that the "anyone but Obama" mandate is strong enough to rally sufficient voters to win an election, and if Romney's expected electability is a myth, he is at best a fall-back candidate instead of the proper standard-bearer.

Perry:  A victim of multiple gaffes and unrealistic expectations when he first entered the campaign.  It is questionable if the strains of recent surgery and the wildfire outbreak in Texas distracted him and contributed to his poor early performances.  However, poor they were, and he did not rally quickly.  Whether this was lack of preparing, or unfamiliarity with how things changed on a national scale, is also debatable, but the reality is it hurt him severely.  He also harps on quixotic issues at times, like the part-time Congress--a plan I support, but hardly a major talking point at this stage in the game.  By most accounts he has strengthened his debate performances recently, though it may be too late.  In terms of policies, the two big knocks against him are Gardasil and the Texas Dream Act.  From my perspective, Gardasil is a non-issue, and Perry has expressed he would change his approach if he had it to do over.  The Texas Dream Act on the surface seems antithetical to border security, but it reflects the reality that the federal government did not secure the border, and contributing illegal aliens are better than those who simply absorb resources.  On the other hand, Perry did use significant state resources to try to limit illegal immigration, and has articulated a realistic, workable plan to protect the border instead of the symbolic but mostly ineffective physical fence.  He has made calls to actually reduce the size of the government, which only Reagan had ever done before.  He has proposed simplification of the tax code, slicing the budget, and has a firm grasp of the ugly nature of world affairs and the need for an active role in them.  Perry's record in Texas is one of creating jobs, of fighting tough but fair with the opposition and winning support when needed, and of winning charged, tightly contested elections.  He is not the perfect candidate, but Ronald Reagan is not rising from the grave to run for a third term, and Perry is the closest thing to the Gipper that we will see this election cycle.  That is why I support him.