July 29, 2010
What Is the Endgame for Conservatives?
Conservatives who read the polls are already anticipating Republican gains in this November's congressional elections, hoping for an anti-Obama tidal wave. They should temper their enthusiasm. Statistically, the opposition party almost always gains seats in midterm elections. But let us for the sake of the argument suppose that a repeat of the 1994 midterm elections is in the offing -- that Republicans exceed their wildest expectations and gain control of both houses.
What will change?
Will ObamaCare be repealed? Almost assuredly not. There is virtually zero chance that the Republicans will control both houses by the two-thirds majority necessary to override Obama's certain veto of any repeal effort.
Will illegal aliens be deported and the Mexican border sealed? No. Sen. McCain (whose signature legislation sought to make First Amendment freedoms illegal during election campaigns) will join forces with Obama and Sen. Graham to grant amnesty to the 12 to 15 million illegal aliens already here, during a time of 10% unemployment.
Will the budget be balanced? Not a chance. If the current $1.5-trillion deficit were shrunk to only the half-trillion of the Bush years, it would be a monumental accomplishment.
Will the pointless war in Afghanistan, in which the U.S. endeavors to prop up a government just as corrupt as Ngo Dinh Diem's in Vietnam, be ended? No. It will continue to drag on and cost American lives.
It is time for conservatives to ask some hard questions. What, exactly, is it that they hope to "conserve"? And how will they do it?
We know what the endgame is for the political Left. It is national socialism, with as many citizens dependent on the government as possible, and international socialism, with foreign policy and economic policy controlled by U.N. and EU-style bureaucrats. This would put the Right out of business for good. What, then, is the endgame for the political Right? How does it plan (does it even have a plan?) to put the Left out of business for good?
For decades, right-wing voices were nearly unheard in our national discourse. Today, the right-wing critique is ubiquitous. FOX News is almost fourteen years old, and it has healthier ratings than "mainstream" broadcast news. AM radio stations broadcast wall-to-wall right-wing talk to tens of millions, while the New York Times and CNN teeter on the verge of insolvency. Every verbal gaffe or moronic statement made by Obama and his fellow Leftists is instantly relayed to millions on the internet. No one seeking an alternative to Leftist thinking can credibly say that he cannot find one.
But what has the conservative critique of the Left achieved? Nothing. In 1951, the late William F. Buckley singlehandedly founded the modern conservative movement when he wrote God and Man at Yale -- a critique of the atheist and socialist sympathies of the Yale faculty that he had experienced firsthand as an undergraduate. Today, Yale hosts an annual "Sex Week" in which porn stars, strippers, and fetishists give presentations.
In his 1960 book Conscience of a Conservative, Sen. Barry Goldwater decried the increase in federal spending from $60 billion to $80 billion. Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson by a nearly two-to-one margin in the 1964 election. Today, federal spending is approaching $4 trillion, and the deficit is $1.5 trillion per annum.
It has been thirty-seven years since Roe v. Wade was decided, and thirty years since Ronald Reagan was elected promising to appoint "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court. But it was Reagan's affirmative-action "first female" appointee Sandra O'Connor who voted to uphold Roe in 1992.
Indeed, the sainted Gipper, icon of the conservative movement, was a former Democratic union man who signed an abortion into law as governor of California six years prior to Roe, never had a balanced budget in his eight years as president, and signed an illegal alien amnesty in 1986. Thirty years after Reagan's administration contemplated eliminating the Department of Education, it is more bloated than ever, using taxpayer dollars to subsidize the teaching of political correctness and hatred of America.
What would a truly conservative America look like? It is unrealistic to argue, as some conservatives and Tea Partiers do, for a return to Jeffersonian libertarianism, no matter how desirable that may be. If conservatives were able to scale the power of today's federal leviathan back to "merely" post-New Deal levels, it would be an enormous achievement.
Let us suppose for a moment that the conservative goal was merely the preservation of the cultural values and international status of the America of the Eisenhower-Kennedy era (arguably the apogee of American power and influence). What, then, would be on the conservative agenda?
-A civil rights movement based on individual equality, not group entitlements and reverse discrimination against whites and Asians;
-Mandatory military training and conscription;
-A muscular foreign policy in which America stands up to its enemies, as JFK did during the Cuban missile crisis, rather than the Obama foreign policy posture of a beaten dog piddling in submission;
-Balanced or low-deficit budgets, with social spending limited to pre-Great Society "safety-net" minimums;
-A non-P.C. acknowledgment that enemies (then communists, now Muslim fanatics) seek to use America's freedoms as a tool to destroy it from within;
-The unapologetic deportation of illegals, e.g., Eisenhower's "Operation Wetback" in 1954;
-The maintenance of American industrial and technological superiority;
-Social issues such as abortion and homosexuality left up to state legislatures as the Founders intended, rather than declared "constitutional rights" by activist judges;
-The public acknowledgment of a nonsectarian "civic religion" based on the Judeo-Christian tradition; and
-Unions investigated by the federal government for corruption and racketeering, and a non-unionized public sector.
Conservatives must be under no illusions that the Left would regard such an agenda as "fascist" and react violently if such an agenda ever came close to being implemented.
It must be remembered that the Left of the sixties routinely characterized Lyndon Johnson -- father of Great Society socialism and affirmative action -- as "fascist," and that violence has always been a central part of the Left's strategy. Armed black students seized Cornell University in 1969. JFK was shot by a communist. RFK was shot by a Palestinian. Pentagon bomber Bill Ayers is now a tenured professor and confidant of the President of the United States. From the riots in Watts to the anti-globalization protesters in Seattle to the anti-Bush and anti-Iraq war marchers, the Left has always "taken it to the streets." The Right could not succeed in implementing the conservative agenda outlined above without a willingness to utilize the power of the state to suppress the violence that the Left would surely perpetrate if a Rightist victory were imminent.
The Republicans may gain seats in November, but it is hardly certain that they will implement a conservative agenda. Will the American Right choose to accept subjugation under the rule of the Left and perform the same function that the British Conservative Party has performed for decades -- namely, provide rhetorical opposition but never really change anything? Or will the Right actually seek to reverse the hegemony of the Left and restore American culture to its post-WWII greatness, mindful that the costs of doing so would be high?