Power or Principle?

Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell's victory over Washington establishment favorite Mike Castle raised an interesting question.

Do we want just political power and 51 seats in the U.S. Senate? Or do we want to build a movement? That's what movement guy Pat Buchanan immediately understood. 

The Washington hands were doing their political arithmetic. Mike Castle meant winning in Delaware, 51 seats in the Senate, and committee chairmanships. Christine O'Donnell meant a throw of the dice.

Put me in the movement camp. It's not going to do the conservative movement any good to get back into power without a mandate. The experience with the Bushes proved it. They took America as they found it; they didn't try to change it.

Nothing wrong with that. A practical politician must practice the art of the possible.

But we movement conservatives want to move the zone of the possible. That means we want to do more than just hire Karl Rove to execute on a political game plan. We want to build a movement for conservative reform, for smaller government and greater freedom, and we want to persuade our moderate friends to join us. On this view, it's better to risk defeat with a Christine O'Donnell and a Sharron Angle than to play it safe with an old Washington hand like Mike Castle.

What does it take to move the zone of the possible? Many people think that will require a movement like the Great Awakening of the 1740s. 

In Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform, William G. McLoughlin argues that all the great reform eras in American history were preceded by a great moral revival. In his view, the Great Awakening led to the American Revolution  in the 1770s, and the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s birthed the anti-slavery movement and the Civil War.

In our era, it is almost impossible to imagine weakening the liberal ruling class and its domination of education, culture, and the arts. How can we possibly hope to dislodge liberals from the universities, the schools, the foundations, and Hollywood?

We can take heart from the era of the Second Great Awakening. When the Awakening got started in the early 1800s, the northern Federalists had collapsed, and the slave-holding South was set to dominate the nation's politics for a generation, starting with eight years of slave-owner President Jefferson and continuing with eight years of slave-owner President Madison and yet another eight years of slave-owner President Monroe. That's 24 years of uninterrupted slave-owner presidents, not to mention slave-owner Senates and slave-owner Houses of Representatives. Finally, the Whig Party emerged and flopped around in and out of power for twenty years. Divided on slavery, the Whig Party collapsed in the 1840s. It took the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 to birth the anti-slavery Republican Party.

If we don't want to flop around like the Whig Party, we've got to establish a moral base from which to attack the liberal hegemony and demolish its claims to moral superiority. But where do we start?

In my view, the way to go is to trump the liberal demand that we shouldn't "legislate morality." Liberals are right; ministers of religion shouldn't be giving marching orders to legislators.

But the most powerful church in the United States is the Established Church of Secular Liberalism, funded by our taxes like any national established church. It has government teachers in government elementary schools teaching little children how to behave, government teachers in government high schools teaching sexual mores, and government professors in government universities inculcating the liberal worldview. What do you think all the non-competitive, positive self-esteem, celebrate diversity talk comes from? The liberal moral system, of course, legislated to be taught in government schools.

There is only one thing to say about all that. It is wrong.

The challenge we must hurl at our liberal friends is simple. If President Jefferson was right in his call for a wall of separation of church and state, then you chaps have to give up the inside track you've built to teach our children your liberal religion from kindergarten through graduate school on the taxpayers' dime. 

I've tried this line out on the odd liberal, and I have to report that none of them have taken it well. They don't understand what I'm talking about. Liberals have no clue that their domination of the culture amounts to an established church. Why, they reject the whole idea of "organized religion." They think of their beliefs as the inevitable ideals of any educated, rational person.

You know what? It's up to us to teach liberals different, even if it takes sixty years, like it did in the long haul to abolish slavery. 

If we are to have a free country with a separation between the moral-cultural sector and the government, then tax-funded secular liberal preachers cannot be allowed the run of our nation's schools.

It's an American principle: limited government, separation of powers, no legislating of ruling-class morality.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.com. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.
Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell's victory over Washington establishment favorite Mike Castle raised an interesting question.

Do we want just political power and 51 seats in the U.S. Senate? Or do we want to build a movement? That's what movement guy Pat Buchanan immediately understood. 

The Washington hands were doing their political arithmetic. Mike Castle meant winning in Delaware, 51 seats in the Senate, and committee chairmanships. Christine O'Donnell meant a throw of the dice.

Put me in the movement camp. It's not going to do the conservative movement any good to get back into power without a mandate. The experience with the Bushes proved it. They took America as they found it; they didn't try to change it.

Nothing wrong with that. A practical politician must practice the art of the possible.

But we movement conservatives want to move the zone of the possible. That means we want to do more than just hire Karl Rove to execute on a political game plan. We want to build a movement for conservative reform, for smaller government and greater freedom, and we want to persuade our moderate friends to join us. On this view, it's better to risk defeat with a Christine O'Donnell and a Sharron Angle than to play it safe with an old Washington hand like Mike Castle.

What does it take to move the zone of the possible? Many people think that will require a movement like the Great Awakening of the 1740s. 

In Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform, William G. McLoughlin argues that all the great reform eras in American history were preceded by a great moral revival. In his view, the Great Awakening led to the American Revolution  in the 1770s, and the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s birthed the anti-slavery movement and the Civil War.

In our era, it is almost impossible to imagine weakening the liberal ruling class and its domination of education, culture, and the arts. How can we possibly hope to dislodge liberals from the universities, the schools, the foundations, and Hollywood?

We can take heart from the era of the Second Great Awakening. When the Awakening got started in the early 1800s, the northern Federalists had collapsed, and the slave-holding South was set to dominate the nation's politics for a generation, starting with eight years of slave-owner President Jefferson and continuing with eight years of slave-owner President Madison and yet another eight years of slave-owner President Monroe. That's 24 years of uninterrupted slave-owner presidents, not to mention slave-owner Senates and slave-owner Houses of Representatives. Finally, the Whig Party emerged and flopped around in and out of power for twenty years. Divided on slavery, the Whig Party collapsed in the 1840s. It took the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 to birth the anti-slavery Republican Party.

If we don't want to flop around like the Whig Party, we've got to establish a moral base from which to attack the liberal hegemony and demolish its claims to moral superiority. But where do we start?

In my view, the way to go is to trump the liberal demand that we shouldn't "legislate morality." Liberals are right; ministers of religion shouldn't be giving marching orders to legislators.

But the most powerful church in the United States is the Established Church of Secular Liberalism, funded by our taxes like any national established church. It has government teachers in government elementary schools teaching little children how to behave, government teachers in government high schools teaching sexual mores, and government professors in government universities inculcating the liberal worldview. What do you think all the non-competitive, positive self-esteem, celebrate diversity talk comes from? The liberal moral system, of course, legislated to be taught in government schools.

There is only one thing to say about all that. It is wrong.

The challenge we must hurl at our liberal friends is simple. If President Jefferson was right in his call for a wall of separation of church and state, then you chaps have to give up the inside track you've built to teach our children your liberal religion from kindergarten through graduate school on the taxpayers' dime. 

I've tried this line out on the odd liberal, and I have to report that none of them have taken it well. They don't understand what I'm talking about. Liberals have no clue that their domination of the culture amounts to an established church. Why, they reject the whole idea of "organized religion." They think of their beliefs as the inevitable ideals of any educated, rational person.

You know what? It's up to us to teach liberals different, even if it takes sixty years, like it did in the long haul to abolish slavery. 

If we are to have a free country with a separation between the moral-cultural sector and the government, then tax-funded secular liberal preachers cannot be allowed the run of our nation's schools.

It's an American principle: limited government, separation of powers, no legislating of ruling-class morality.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.com. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.

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