June 18, 2009
Witness to Liberals as They Really AreBy Christopher Chantrill
People are wondering what to do about the Sotomayor nomination. Should conservatives robustly oppose this Affirmative Action baby to the utmost? Or should conservative senators witness to her identity liberalism, asking her questions that allow her to expand, as a wise Latina, on her philosophy of jurisprudence?
There is a lot of satisfaction to be had from an all-out battle. But all-out battles don't seem to serve conservatives very well. The search for communist traitors in government after World War II certainly uncovered some spies, but liberals managed to turn the whole thing around and make Senator McCarthy, rather than the high-born liberal spies, the issue for half a century.
It may have been appropriate -- and delicious poetic justice -- to call out the leader of the feminist party, President Clinton, for lying about sexual harassment. But again, the long-term result was an Angry Left and eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
The witness style of conservatism concentrates on the facts rather than the political combat. You could say that it starts with Edmund Burke and his Reflections on the Revolution in France in which he predicted, in 1790, the bloodbath to come.
Then there's Britain's Herbert Spencer. In Man Versus the State he railed -- in the 1880s -- against the flood of legislation in Parliament that, even then, was bringing everything under the knout of government compulsion. Said he:
Spencer, born in 1820, was educated almost entirely by his nonconformist father and uncles. In 1837 at age 17, he "joined the engineering staff of the London and Birmingham Railway." But he soon veered towards a literary career and became one of Britain's great public intellectuals.
In the 20th century there was no better witness than Whittaker Chambers. He was another oddball, and hated school from the moment that he observed in the school-yard three boys urinating on a lollipop and then offering it to a classmate. It was a long way from that day to the day that he would testify that Alger Hiss, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and liberal icon, had spied for the Soviets.
Liberals, Rush Limbaugh never tires of telling us, cannot admit who they really are. If that is so, then conservatives should never cease from witness, giving liberals every opportunity to tell the American people who they are, and then amplifying the message for everyone to hear.
Judge Sotomayor, nominee for Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court, seems to be an unreflecting advocate of the jurisprudence of identity politics and speaks the lingua franca of the liberals who mentored her through an Ivy League education and law school. Let senators respectfully ask, and let Judge Sotomayor tell the American people who she really is.
Conservatives are old-fashioned enough to believe that, if the issues are honestly debated, the American people will agree, in broad outlines, with our ideas and programs. The truth is that if the American people really want unrestricted abortion and government "single-payer" health care, they will get it. If Americans want the business sector locked down under the political control of government "czars" there is no way to stop them.
But if Americans want responsibility for their lives, if they want a limit to government compulsion, if they recoil from the liberals' Peculiar Institution, then they must know that conservatives proudly wave a banner under which they can rally--a beacon, "a magnet for all who must have freedom."
It is intriguing, according to Eamon Javers in The Politico, that President Obama, like President Clinton before him, talks about God and Jesus more than George W. Bush did. Perhaps he is trying to resurrect "the largely dormant Christian Left."
Or perhaps Rush is right, and the president feels the need to camouflage the strongly secularist content of his politics. After all, the young Obama joined Reverend Wright's church only after he discovered that young activists were expected in Chicago to have a church home.
Also, the "great awakenings" theory developed by William G. McLoughlin in Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform reckons that it is faith that drives politics, and not the other way around.
Let the American people find out who President Obama really is, secular or Christian. Let them find out who Sonia Sotomayor is, empathetic or identity racialist. Let them find out who liberals really are, and what liberal government means to their lives and to their families.
Then let's talk, America.