Category Archives: Patriotism

The Core Values of True Conservative Belief

“We ought not to listen to those who exhort us, because we are human, to think of human things.…We ought rather to take on immortality as much as possible, and do all that we can to live in accordance with the highest element within us; for even if its bulk is small, in its power and value it far exceeds everything.” — Aristotle

Knowledge of Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do. – St. Thomas Aquinas, Two Precepts of Charity.

So I have been looking for the core of conservative belief lately.  What is conservative, what isn’t.

Why is this even an important question?  Well because the conservative movement is overly obsessed with the idea of what a true conservative is (it doesn’t help when your main opposition is a bunch of blind followers in the Democrat party who will kneel before anyone who promises them more shit, and libertarians* who will promise them pot).  Paeloconservatives.  Neoconservatives.  Fiscal conservatives.  Social Conservatives.  Compassionate Conservatives.  (Hint I consider only two of these terms not be contradictions).  It’s a wide range.

And there is no big help when looking to intellectuals.  Sure there is Russell Kirk’s famous list of highly dense academic speak, I even used it in Republicans and Reincarnation, but over the course of his career he kept changing the last few points, making it more and more isolationist, and it’s so complicated as to be useless.

The Wizard's Rules Sword of Truth

Meanwhile, while I love Goodkind’s eleven wizard’s rules, and think them an excellent companion to Aristotelian philosophy, they’re not all that specific.

Then of course you could name certain policies…but that doesn’t work because what is conservative today isn’t conservative tomorrow.  Facts of reality change, priorities get shifted…for instance every conservative needs to be a fiscal conservative, however one can still be a conservative and willing to make a deal to that would raise deficit spending when a more important goal is present, say, toppling an evil empire.  And real conservatives, love the nature of America to take pieces of every culture and incorporate them into the melting pot of this nation…but right now reality and sanity dictate we need to concentrate on border control and being a little more picky about who gets in.

So the problem I’ve had for nearly a year is to find something that is accessible, adaptable, and always accurate in describing the core beliefs of conservatism.  And I just realized it was so bluntly obvious that I didn’t see it (but then again I haven’t seen anyone else talk about it all this time either)..I’ve even stated it, it’s just always been implied.

What are the core values of conservatism that remain the core values at any time any place any situation? The thing that binds Aristotle to Cicero to Aquinas to Locke to Burke to Smith to Adams to Goldwater to Reagan?

The Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.

Four Cardinal Virtues
Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Justice

Prudence

Temperance

Fortitude

Justice

Faith
Hope

Love

The first four come from Aristotle, the last three from Paul (although I would argue they are implicit in Aristotle if you read all of his works) and they are the basis for the most perfect system of ethics ever created.

Think about it.   Liberals only care about results, damn what rights or means you have to violate to create your Utopia (and that’s even before you consider they lack the follow through to do anything); the crazier members of the Libertarian party only care about means and an absolutist idea of right, to hell if you need some minor infringement to make a society properly function or to secure the vast majority of your rights.  Only the virtue based ethics of Aristotle deal in the reality of needing to consider ends and means.  And this refusal to look at only ends or means is one of the first reasons why the virtue ethics are inherently conservative—conservatives by nature see the whole.

Now let’s look at the virtues themselves.

Yes, Aristotle listed a lot of other virtues,

Sense of Shame

Pride

Wit

Proper Ambition

Truthfulness

Righteous Indignation

Generosity

Friendliness

Magnificence

Good Temper

But all of these are natural extensions of the other seven.  So let’s go over them and show why they are at the heart of conservatism.

In the order which most highlights the political aspects.

Cardinal Virtues
Justice.  Conservatives believe in the concept of Justice, that people should be rewarded and/or punished by what they deserve.  Merit.  Earning.  The basis of meritocracy of free market capitalism.  This is of course opposed to the liberal obsession with fair. It’s not fair.  Things should be fair.  Life’s not fair.  And of course whereas Justice requires the equality of opportunity and equality before the law, liberals want the equality of fairness where everyone has equal results.

Prudence.  While a highly complex concept that the word prudence doesn’t quite convey the complexity for the classical concept, it might be best defined as the knowledge of what should be valued.  With Prudence comes the understanding that the only truly valuable thing is Happiness (again I’m using the classical definition of a life lived well) and to value all the subordinate good that are required for Happiness.  This includes liberty, because Happiness cannot be achieved without free will, actual achievement.  Liberalism values material things and sees no higher point to life other than living, social conservatives only value society and some perverted view of God and not the individual or their happiness

Temperance.  Often mistaken for moderation, Temperance is taking the knowledge of what to value from Prudence, and deciding how much you should value it, at what time, in what place and in what manner.  In very simple terms this is the pragmatism of what works so clearly Keynesian economic and the libertarian desire to wipe everything out in one fell swoop without letting society adjust are right out.

Fortitude.  Again often misunderstood to just be courage, it is more tied into the previous three virtues as the will to do what you know to be right.  This throws out RINOs who stand for nothing, and worst of all the politically apathetic who seem to feel that there is no value in anything and nothing worth fighting for.

For purposes here, I am going to take Faith and Hope together because this is the primary difference between paleo and neoconservatives.  Paleoconservatives with their isolationist ways at their core are only looking out for themselves (clearly also lacking in that last virtue) but this is also because they do not have any faith in humanity or hope in the inevitability that republicanism and capitalism will spread to everyone.

Love, the last of the theological virtues and what must be required for all stable society. It is the belief that other humans have value and worth, and must be respected and helped when possible. This is actually the basis for capitalism, democratic-republics, friendship and all progress.  The belief that human beings are worth it (it’s a belief you don’t find in many political beliefs).

I have no doubt that I will come back to this theme over and over…but it has become clear to me that one or all of these virtues is missing in every political philosophy other than true conservatism.

(This will be the first post in an ongoing series on these virtues.)

*Not that all libertarians are this bad, but you have to admit there is a disturbing high number of single issue voters in your party…and their single issue is one that is really dumb. Of course Republicans have social conservatives who are just as stupid.

**I’m just going to gloss over these for now, don’t worry I’ll eventually have numerous blogs dedicated to this now that I’ve figured this out.

 

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Filed under Aristotle, Capitalism, character, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Foreign Policy, Founding, Free Will, Individualism, Natural Rights, NeoConservative, Patriotism, philosophy, politics, Purpose of Life, Sword of Truth, virtue

The Most Patriotic Movies Ever!

Flag of the United StatesSo last year I pointed out that we needed not just the holidays of Memorial Day, Flag Day and Independence Day but a whole season of patriotism from late May to early July, a month that reminds us that this is the greatest nation on Earth because of our ideals and we need to remember that.  And given that we should all recognize the important nature popular culture in getting people to come over to our side, here is the list of last years most patriotic films.

Hope you enjoy this season from Memorial Day to Independence Day.

A Season of Patriotism

The Greatest Films of American Patriotism: Overview and Honorable Mentions

Most Patriotic Movies #29: Movies that are stand-ins for American Patriotism

 #28: Stripes

 #27: Iron Man 2

 #26: The films of Michael Bay

 #25: Born Yesterday (1993)

 #24: 24

#23: Lifeboat

#22: Field of Dreams

#21 An American Tail

#20 The Hunt for Red October

#19 Star Trek—The Original Series: The Omega Glory

#18 A Few Good Men

#17 National Treasure

 #16 Glory

 Tie for #14 Air Force One

Tie for #14 The Outlaw Josey Wales

 #13 Red Dawn  plus some good commentary on the new one Red Dawn, 2012

#12 Cinderella Man

#11 To Kill A Mockingbird

#10 How the West Was Won

 #9 Casablanca

 #8 Yankee Doodle Dandy

 #7 –1776

 #6 The Movies of John Wayne

#5 Independence Day

#4 The Postman

 # 3 Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

Greatest Patriotic Films of All Time #2: John Adams

The Most Patriotic Film Ever: State of the Union

And some good news for the Man of Steel there was that that great line of patriotism running through the Dark Knight Movies

And a reminder why this is still, has always been, and will likely always be the greatest nation on Earth

The Greatest Nation On Earth…

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Evils of Liberalism, Founding, Government is useless, Movies, Movies for Conservatives, Natural Rights, NeoConservative, Patriotism, politics

Hope, the American Way, and the “Man of Steel” Trailer


So there appears to be some brouhaha over the newest trailer for Man of Steel.  I have seen complaints about this on no less than 3 different political web sites, which seems a bit much for a trailer, but since they want to make a federal case over it, it should be pointed out that their case is baseless.   Namely the problem seems to be with the following lines:

Lois Lane: What’s the “S” stand for?

Superman: It’s not an “S.”  On my world it means “hope.”

Lois Lane: Here it’s an “S.”  How about Super…ManofSteelsymbol

Now the first complaint is that this is changing the story, where it has always stood for Superman.  This is a silly claim, especially for a comic book movie, which is based on comic books that have been restarted so many times with so many variations D.C. comics actually had to come up with a storyline about multiple universes just to keep all the versions straight (still didn’t help).   When you’re translating a story from one medium to another it’s pure insanity to think everything can remain the same.  Further, yes you might be justifiably angry at those changes…but only if those changes make the story worse.  The new Star Trek stripped all the good out of the original series and created a cheap sci-fi film that would never have gone anywhere without banking on the greatness of the original…so there bitching about the changes is justified.  Conversely, Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy took the Batman story from a more simplistic action/detective comic and created one of the deepest most meaningful films ever made.  Those changes made the story better, and so whining about purity of the original story is just bunk.  Rewriting stories is a part of literature dating back to when Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides rewrote the works of Homer for stage, nobody in their right mind claims they ruined the stories.  Now it may be that whatever changes Nolan and Snyder have made to the Superman myth in this film may make it better or worse, we’ll have to see, but change is not necessarily good or bad on its own.

The other reason this is silly (and keep in mind I’ve never read a Superman comic in my life, and even I could find this out easily) is that in terms of the meaning of the “S” they haven’t really changed anything.  In the original film starring Christopher Reeve, the symbol stood for the House of El, the Kryptonian family that Superman is a part of. But what about the “Hope” thing?  Apparently some on the Right are having knee-jerk reactions to the word and thinking that this is intended to be a reference to Obama.  It’s not.  This actually is taken directly from the 2004 comic Superman: Birthright written by Mark Waid (Obama had only come onto the national scene at the 2004 Democratic convention in July, the comic came out in September which means it was probably written well before July).  I will shortly come back to why using Waid’s work as a basis for this movie is a very, very good thing.

Finally there are of course the constant complaints still going on about the line from the last movie “Find out if he still stands for Truth, Justice, all that stuff” and how the writers shoved away the phrase “the American Way” and the worry that this will still continue in this film (this of course ignores that the line came from Perry White, the most cynical character in the Superman universe who probably would find the phrase silly).

ManofSteelAfter this trailer I especially find this fear also fairly unwarranted.

Why?

Well what is the American Way?

Contrary to what many believe, it has nothing to do with land, or resources, or economic success, or military prowess, or scientific achievement. America is America because of our ideals.  The ideals of liberty, of meritocracy, that anyone can achieve by their own will.  Or as I have stated before:

We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have-nots gave equal measure.  We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves.  We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history.  We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet.  We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power.  If you don’t think we’re the “shining city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature.  We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.

The American way isn’t a habit, or a land, or a race, or even the citizens of this particular country, it is an ideal that believes the best in humanity can always rise above the worst in humanity, that the individual left to their own devices will rise to the pinnacle of achievement and not sink to the depth of depravity.

And just in this trailer alone, we see that way, that ideal.

We see it in Jor-El’s statement

What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?  What if a child aspired to something greater?

Are you going to tell me a line about how a single individual can rise above the shackles of whatever society throws on them, and achieve because of their own will and merit isn’t at the very heart of America?

Or perhaps Jonathan Kent’s:

I have to believe that you were sent here for a reason.  And even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.

The belief that life has a purpose.  It has been seen in philosophy since Aristotle, but it has never been realized until America.  And this quest to find meaning is a personal one, “you owe it to yourself,” not one laden down with obligations to family, or clan, or religion, or state, or culture, or history or whatever other un-American claptrap other nations have followed.

Or perhaps we should go to first trailer, with another line from Jor-El

You will give the people an ideal to strive towards.  They will race behind you.  They will stumble.  They will fall.  But in time they will join you in the sun—In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.

Shining city on the hill anyone?  The beacon of hope and light that America is supposed to be.

Oh I said “beacon of hope” which brings us back to the symbol and them taking that point from Mark Waid.  This is important that they are drawing form Waid’s version. Why?  I would direct you to an essay written by Waid in the book Superheroes and Philosophy entitled “The Real Truth About Superman and the Rest of Us, Too.” (It’s an excellent essay which you may want to read.)

The essay covers the thought process Waid went through when the head of D.C. asked him a simple question: “Why does Superman do what he does?  Why doesn’t absolute power absolutely corrupt in his case?”  He quickly found the stock answer of, because he’s Superman, to be unsatisfying to the employer who was hiring him to revitalize the franchise.

What follows is an argument that references two of my favorite philosophical beliefs.

The first is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Waid starts from the premise that even though an alien, he has the same needs in the same order as any human.  Physical needs then Safety needs then Emotional Needs then Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsAchievement needs then finally the need for Self Actualization.  (You’ll find that the American beliefs in liberty and capitalism parallel this order of needs quite well).  Now for Superman, the first two, physical and safety need, aren’t an issue at all.  So that leaves emotional, achievement and self actualization needs.  Now he might gain some emotional connections by just being mild mannered Clark Kent, but certainly not achievement or self actualization.  Which then comes to a question of how much does he need to achieve…and this is where Waid turns to another idea, a quote in fact (which I’m hoping against hope will make it into the movie):

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” [Italics on the last part added]

 

It is the realization that Superman is who he is because to do anything less would not lead to his Happiness, and that a central theme of the story has always been that we should all strive to the edge our abilities, as Kal-El does, not just to help others achieve their goals (You will help them accomplish wonders) but to also achieve our own Happiness (you owe it to yourself).

So this is why I’m happy they are pulling from Waid, with the concept of Superman being a symbol of hope, the city on the Hill, because it places the whole story in a very strong and correct footing of spiritual values and Aristotelian virtue based ethics.

Now while Waid, or Marianne Williamson who first wrote this in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles, don’t make the connection, it is only through the American Way of personal liberty and personal achievement that we achieve the heights of shining our brightest.  So I feel the need to again point out, that the American Way is being championed in this movie already, whether they say the words or not.

Now, no one has seen this film yet, so it could either suck or make the Dark Knight Rises look like an F film student’s half-hearted attempt…or anything in between. I am merely pointing out that the complaints based only on this trailer are completely unfounded.  This movie appears to appeal to the best in this story, the core ideals that have let it rise above whatever flaws have plagued the various incarnations over the years.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Aristotle, Art, character, Faith, Individualism, Marianne Williamson, Movies, Movies for Conservatives, New Age Movies, Patriotism, philosophy, Popular Culture, virtue

Hurting the RINOs where it hurts

rino

The party of McCain

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee;

Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire;

Richard Burr of North Carolina;

Saxby Chambliss of Georgia;

Tom Coburn of Oklahoma;

Susan Collins of Maine;

Bob Corker of Tennessee;

Jeff Flake of Arizona;

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina;

John Hoeven of North Dakota;

Johnny Isakson of Georgia;

Dean Heller of Nevada;

Mark Kirk of Illinois;

John McCain of Arizona;

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania;

Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

 

Take a look at those names.  They claim to be Republicans.  They are not.  They voted to end the new filibuster against Barry’s latest unconstitutional grab for guns before the filibuster even began.  RINO doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

But rather than pray that karma visits this pile of scum sooner rather than later, I suggest we do something that might hurt them even more….much, much more.

Take a look at the following letter.

Dear Republican National Committee/Republican Senate Committee

As I am sure you are aware, the following Senators voted against a filibuster that was designed to protect Constitutional rights even before the filibuster began.

Lamar Alexander (TN), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Richard Burr of (NC), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Tom Coburn (OK), Susan Collins (ME), Bob Corker (TN), Jeff Flake (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), John Hoeven (ND), Johnny Isakson (GA), Dean Heller (NV), Mark Kirk (IL), John McCain (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), Roger Wicker (MS).

While this move that struck down debate and defense of Constitutional principles is perhaps in keeping with the traditions of the Democratic party, it is beyond shameful for Republicans to behave in this way.

Now while I’m sure you agree that this behavior was despicable, if I am ever going to fund either of your organizations again, as I have in the past, I will need some assurance.  Therefore until your organization releases a statement that these Senators will never again receive money or any form of support from you, I will have no choice but to not ever give you money.  Now the day you do release this statement, I will be more than too happy to make a donation of $100, and continue making future donations based on the availability of my checkbook.

It’s up to you.

Cris Pace

CrisPace444@yahoo.com

 

 

Now if we were all to send that to their comment pages, their Facebook pages, their twitter accounts, and make sure we share it with everyone we know this could work.  Money is the way we’re supposed to be able to control politicians and political organizations, so let’s do that. Now you may need to change the amount you can donate (I picked a nice round number to start with) but we need to sincerely offer the stick AND the carrot here or this doesn’t even stand the slightest chance of succeeding.

You can contact the individual Senators if you wish to tell them you will fund and support any primary challenge against them, but quite frankly that would only be relevant if you wanted to change their behavior….for me they are dead to me, and I wish to see their political careers follow suit.

 

 

 

http://www.facebook.com/GOP

https://twitter.com/gop

http://www.gop.com/contact-us/

http://www.nrsc.org/contact-us/

National Republican Senatorial Committee

425 2nd Street NE.

Washington, D.C. 20002

Phone: 202-675-6000

http://www.facebook.com/nrsc

https://twitter.com/nrsc

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Filed under 2nd Amendment, Civil Liberties, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Natural Rights, Patriotism, People Are Stupid, politics, Problems with the GOP

Rand Paul at Heritage

I agree with Rand that we need more reason and less action without thought in our foreign policy.  I would agree with him that there is not long-term policy or nuance in our dealings with allies and enemies. I would agree we need to restore more power to the legislature and have less in the executive.

But I take a couple of points with him.  Yes, Reagan was far more clever than the last 2 decades of presidents, but Rand is a little off in his vision of Reagan.  Reagan’s tactics may have been far more intelligent, and Rand correctly points this out, but it is not accurate to describe Reagan’s strategy as one of containment.  Reagan’s intention wasn’t  “containing” the Soviet Union, his goal was the total destruction of the Soviet Union.  And he won.  “He won the Cold War without firing a shot,” as Thatcher pointed out. (Although we did bomb a lot of allies of the Soviet Union, even if we didn’t attack them directly). He drew a line in the sand and did not back down and this caused the Soviet system to panic, to overspend, to collapse much faster than it would have if the policies of Reagan’s predecessors had continued.  Senator Paul points to the fact that “The cold war ended because the engine of capitalism defeated the engine of socialism” but ignores that while socialism’s defeat by the laws of economics are guaranteed, capitalism’s defeat can easily come at the hand of military and political force (and 4 more years of Carter may actually have seen such a collapse).

He also conveniently forgets that sometimes in Reagan’s policy we had to deal with some terrible people to hold back even worse people.  Now I don’t really fault him for this, the ideals of policy speech should be above the need to sometimes get your hands dirty that actual policy requires, but it annoys me during the speech that he ignores how many freedom fighters we did arm, and how many deals with the devil we had to make to keep the worst evil at the time at bay.

Further he condemns nation building as not being our responsibility.  I will point to two situations.  We did not rebuild Germany after World War I.  We had to come back a little over 2 decades later.  We did not help rebuild Afghanistan after we helped them push the Soviets out.  We had to come back a little over a decade later.  There is a great scene at the end of the movie Charlie Wilson’s War, a quote from Wilson on our helping the nation fight for itself, and how we didn’t help them rebuild.  “These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world…and then we fucked up the end game.”   If Rand Paul wants pragmatism then it is the fact that capitalism, rule of law, and classical liberal ideals must be supported, sometime monetarily.  The fact is that if we had supported these nation after they were destroyed it is far less likely they would have fallen to tyranny again as quickly (Hitler only won about 40% of the vote, if the nation had been more stable would he have even won that?…Afghanistan was Westernizing before the Soviet invasion and was not a fruitful ground for extremism, would it have bred the Taliban if we had helped it recover after the Soviets left?).  When you don’t deal with problems before they become problem you have expensive problems that are almost impossible to solve.

Yes the last 20 years of foreign policy have been conducted haphazardly with no end game in mind at best, and simply idiotically at worst.  There has been no ability to adapt, no oversight of the stupidity, and little rational debate.  And I agree with Rand that we need more of that.  And yes we shouldn’t be doing anything if we don’t have the money or time to do it (like now).

But the word containment is wrong.  If you go in just wanting to stop the spread of something you will always lose.  The goal needs to be the spread of democratic-Republics, the spread of capitalism, the spread of liberty.  Certainly not in such a slipshod helter-skelter way that non-interventionist Bush (who only turned to Neoconservatism on 9-11 because it was the only thing that made sense, but without understanding it to be long-term, possibly generational idea, not a quick two term fix) and drone happy Obama have done it.

The long-term goal cannot be containment.  It has to be to win, or it will always result in loss.  Reagan understood this, I wish I could say that Rand Paul understood this, but while I’ll certainly take Rand over Obama, Bush, or anyone currently in control of foreign policy, I’m not sure he has Reagan’s understanding yet.

“We win.  They lose.”–Ronald Reagan

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Filed under Evils of Liberalism, Foreign Policy, Government is useless, NeoConservative, Patriotism, politics, Ronald Reagan

Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan

 

For me no better vision of America has ever been put forth than by Ronald Reagan in “A Time for Choosing”  and his birthday is as a good time to remember it.

It’s frightening how almost all of it is still relevant.

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Filed under Capitalism, Goldwater, Patriotism, Ronald Reagan

Eric Cantor on Conservatism and the Future of America

Eric Cantor“We will go forward with this agenda with the conservative emphasis on individual effort, opportunity, on self reliance and on opportunity for more people.”

Majority Leader Eric Cantor will probably never be label with the moniker of “The Great Communicator”…which is unfortunate because his ideas are great ones that need to be heard.

Today he gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on the goals of the GOP in this Congress covering the free market solutions to innovation, education, immigration, workforce laws, taxes, and healthcare.

What makes this speech interesting is that not only does encompass sound policy but it starts using the more emotional based arguments in defense of capitalism suggested by Arthur Brooks (who happens to introduce Cantor).  The thought being that we all know the numbers and the logic of the free market work…but we’re trying to sell it people who primarily think in terms of emotions not logic, thus we must make the argument that Capitalism, Liberty, and the free market are not only Just and Pragmatic, but fair as well.

“It’s about making life work again for people for more people.”

(I personally love his response to the 2nd to the last question.)

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Budget, Capitalism, character, Congress, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Happiness, Individualism, Laws the GOP should pass, Long Term Thinking, Marianne Williamson, Patriotism, politics, Welfare

A sincere and honest question…Judeo-Christian Values? What are they?

The term “Judeo-Christian Values” is bandied about a lot in public discourse.   Yes it dropped off a little after Rick “I want to use the government to institute a theocracy” Santorum dropped out* last year but it seems to be making a comeback.

So I have to ask, again, what are Judeo-Christian values?  How are they important to politics?  And how do they differ from other religions?

Now maybe it’s just as a non-Christian I’m not getting something that you understand as someone who practices this religion.

Now it’s not that I don’t understand the obvious differences between Christianity or Judaism and other religions.  But I don’t see how the differences I do know about have any effect on government. The truth and virtue of capitalism and democratic-Republics are just as true whether you believe in the Trinity/Yaweh, or Braham and Shiva.  The saving power of grace in most of Christianity has little to do with politics, as far as I can see it.  And just because one tribe of people has a very particular contract with God, it doesn’t negate the importance of the rule of law for everyone else.   The differences I can think of don’t have any effect on politics.  And I see the hand of Providence in the creation of this nation, but the hand of Providence can be seen in event that aren’t specifically Judeo-Christian in nature, so that doesn’t necessarily give precedence to only that belief system.  What am I missing?

And the values that do have an effect on politics—the value of the human soul, which leads to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; the condemnation of violence, hatred, envy, hypocrisy; the praising of personal charity, honesty, compassion, hard work and a connection with something greater than yourself—are not the specific territory of Judeo-Christianity.  You find them Hinduism, in Zoroasterism, in Taoism, in Buddhism, in ancient Pagan beliefs, in Baha’i and Sikh beliefs, and in modern day New Age beliefs.  The values, which then become the backbone of our legal systems are in all religions. So why just Judeo-Christianity?  I understand that each of these belief systems place a different ordering on the priority of these virtues and values, but there are so many variations just within the scheme of Judeo-Christianity itself to make that an issue.
Heck even when Paul Ryan refers to Judeo-Christianity he does something very interesting:

A lot of the basis for this government is in this picture...not a lot of these people are from the Judeo-Christian background.

A lot of the basis for this government is in this picture…not a lot of these people are from the Judeo-Christian background.

It’s a dangerous path, it’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.

He pairs Judeo-Christianity with Western-civilization, with the idea that is unique to the west of the democratic-Republic (a pagan creation by the pagan populations of Athens and Rome) that demands:

Our rights come from nature and God, not government.

(And while these ideas first thrived under predominantly Christian nations of the West, Ryan seems to be acknowledging the pagan Athenian/Roman importance by pairing the two.)

“The Bible is a book. It’s a good book, but it is not the only book. ” …at least in terms of government.

And it seems a little sweeping since while all the Founding Fathers would admit that the Bible contained what they saw as the best expression of ethics they could find, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin denied the divinity of Christ, and Freemason Washington’s beliefs on religion are probably a little more complex than just saying “Judeo-Christian values.”

Now I get that using this phrase may be to separate themselves it’s not the Religion of Peace (which very clearly endorses theocratic fascism) or atheism (both of which deny the divinity of human life)…oh sure atheists say they value human life under their philosophy of secular humanism, but atheism denies any metaphysical reason for human life to have value…so basically it’s them telling me I should just take it on “faith” that human life has value…which rings a little hollow.   But as I pointed out before the phrase also separates you from a lot of religions that do share these ethical values.

So which values am I missing that has an effect on our political structures, rules, and laws that separate Judeo-Christianity from the values of most the other religions on Earth?  I’m not denying the importance of the relationship  a person has with God, or that spiritual beliefs were important in the founding of this nation and is continuance today.  I just want to know if there is a value you think exists in the Judeo-Christian tradition that is necessary for the continuance of this nation that is specific only to the the Judeo-Christian tradition.

And I ask all of this, not because I just want to insult people, but because I have a second argument about this term and how it may be hurting us politically, but I first need to know if there is something about this term that I don’t understand coming from an outsider’s perspective.

*And don’t you dare to try and defend that man as a conservative.  If you look at his record he never met a tax, a regulation, or bribe he didn’t like.

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Filed under Aristotle, Capitalism, Conservative, Faith, God, Natural Rights, Patriotism, Paul Ryan, philosophy, politics, Religion, Spirituality

The Call For Common Sense Gun Laws & Other Such Silliness

In amongst all of this brouhaha, there are some claims that we can all agree on “common sense gun control.”  And this sounds reasonable.  More strenuous background checks, preventing the mentally ill from getting guns, and the like.  Of course all of these measures must be implemented by the government.  You know the same government that gave the very guns it’s now claiming should be banned to Mexican Drug Cartels.  I’m sorry but I would give a schizophrenic a gun before I give a gun to drug cartels (with the schizophrenic you might have a 50/50 chance they won’t do anything, with the cartels you have a 100% chance that mass murder will occur).

But I do believe in common sense gun control.

406015_10200475871483856_1186033546_nI believe in common sense gun control…but common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense spending, which means you do not spend more than you have. You do not believe that you can spend your way out of debt or into prosperity.  Common sense requires that you ignore everything idiots like Krugman, Bernake, Geithner, Lew, and Keynes have ever said because common sense tells you their ideas are harmful and idiotic.  Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense spending.

Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense taxation.  It means you recognize that raising taxes on the rich will not solve anything, that if you raised taxes on the rich to 100% it wouldn’t begin to make even a dent in our year to year budget (let alone the complete national debt).  Common sense taxation would show that the entire code is far far too complicated.  Common sense taxation requires that you recognize that taxes only hurt the economy and never help, that they must all be cut and cut drastically if we are to get out of our problems.  Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense taxation.

Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense regulation, which means understanding that regulations only harm, and that a government that has the best interest of the people and the economy in mind will only have the bare minimum amount of regulation.  Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense regulation.

Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense foreign policy which means understanding that isolation is both foolish and immoral…and that the only thing more foolish would be to engage in getting rid of the bad guys without a plan (Bush) or being the ally of the very nations which are out to kill us (Obama).  Thus using common sense you would never allow lunatics like Hagel, Kerry, Brennan near our foreign policy infrastructure. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense foreign policy.

Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense legislation.  Common sense legislature would not include bills longer than Russian novels or being told that you have to pass something to know what’s in it.  Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense legislation.

Reagan Guns

If only his whiny and worthless excuse for a conservative press secretary could have had as much character.

Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense immigration.  That would include things like real border security, real reform that allows workers to come in as guests, professionals to come in with an easy way to Visas and citizenship, stopping anchor babies and allowing immigrants to take handout from entitlements.   Lots of things. It would not include amnesty and Dream Acts via illegal executive order.  Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense immigration.

Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense  welfare.  That would mean work and education requirements.  Time limits.  Working to roll back the rolls not expand.  Working to make more people get off welfare not get on.  You can’t praise the life of the utterly indefensible Julia and you can’t roll back work requirements.  Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense welfare.

Until then there is no such thing as common sense gun control because even the most reasonable proposals will be carried out by over paid, over educated, life long bureaucratic idiots and will always be carried out to a very non-common sense, illogical and harmful extreme.

Common sense gun laws wouldn’t depend on gun free zone which we all know don’t work.

It wouldn’t be championed by people from the most violent cities with the strictest gun laws that show beyond a doubt that gun laws don’t work.  (Oh and before you begin with that, but they get their guns in places without those gun laws arguments…one needs to ask why isn’t the crime just as high in those places with the lax laws?  Oh maybe because in those places criminals know people will shoot back).

Common sense gun laws may sound like “we’re not going to take away your gun if you’re a law-abiding citizen.”  But let’s be honest here, is anyone a law abiding citizen anymore?  With all the federal, state, local laws, regulations, statutes and judgements are you sure you haven’t broken any of them?  Can a human being even be expected to know all of them?  But that might be the point.

But really that might be the point….Anyone remember this scene?

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against – then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Common sense gun control would be to enforce the laws you have, not have prosecutions go down 45% from the previous administration. 

And common sense has nothing to do with 23 executive orders that create commission and spend more money but do actually nothing.

Or let’s try this bit of common sense.  Countries like the UK and Australia that don’t allow hand guns have higher violent crime than the US (much much higher).  States and cities with stricter gun laws have more violent crime than those that don’t. There has never been a mass shooting at an NRA meeting or a gun show…there are lots of shooting in gun free zones.  Common sense and statistics tells us that John Lott was right, “More guns, less crime.”  But that would just be common sense.


So don’t talk to me about common sense gun laws until you have a government that can enforce common sense gun laws.  Until then I, and you, are safest when we are armed and able to defend ourselves.

But maybe we should just listen to the inherent argument for gun control and why it isn’t needed for to protect us from the government.

(1) Our government would never ignore the rights enumerated in the Constitution so we don’t have to worry about needing guns to defend ourselves against the government

(2) Therefore we don’t need guns.

(3) Since we don’t need guns the government should confiscate them, to hell if it’s a right enumerated in the Constitution, ignore it.

(4) What do you mean you see a contradiction between points 1 and 3? I can’t hear you LALALALALALALALALA!

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Conservative, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, Obama, Patriotism, politics, Tyranny

Movies for Conservatives: Les Miserables

Les Miserables Posters

“Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men.  It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.”

Les Mis a movie for conservatives?

Yeah.

But let’s first talk about the qualities of the movie apart from political or philosophical points.

The High Points

This is the play in all its glory.  And the play is a truncated version of one of the most moving books ever written.  All the passion, all the empathy there.  You will cry for Fantine.  For Eponine.  For Gavrouche.  For the revolutionary Friends of the ABC.  For Javert. And of course for Valjean.  Bring tissues this is movie that you will cry at, a lot.

And this movie has a few truly wonderful scenes that supply motivation that was missing in the play.  For instance it has Javert arrive on the same day that Fantine is dismissed from her job, which gives a reason for Valjean not taking a more serious interest in her case.

The movie also supplies little moments from the book that were never in the play, like Grantaire standing by Enjolras at the moment of execution.

I think director Tom Hooper created something truly genius with the live singing way this movie was made…however it appears in the early scenes that there was certainly a learning curve involved in using this technique (I wish this wasn’t the first movie to do it so Hooper could have had something to reference).  But for any inconsistency it brings up at some moments, it adds deeply to the rest of the film and emotional impact of the songs.

Les Mis HathawayAnne Hathaway deserves an Oscar.

And Russell Crowe’s singing was a pleasant surprise.  He added more humanity to Javert than any actor I have previously seen.

The Low Points.

I feel there was a lot that got left on the editing room floor. At 2 hours and 37 minutes this was pushing it for most movies nowadays and I’m pretty sure if all the little things that were taken out were put back in it would be well over 3 hours.  And since Hollywood has no intention of returning to the idea of an intermission (to me this makes no sense as most of the money comes from concessions and if there is a break at an hour and a half we would be more willing to buy soda since we wouldn’t have to worry about running out to the rest room and we would buy food at the halfway mark as we would be hungrier by that point…but at least it seems that way, real data I’m not privy to might show otherwise) they were probably forced to make some heavy cuts to the movie.  This creates some odd pacing issues, where certain parts feel a little rushed.

Also, and it may be a personal issue that others may not have a problem with, I was not overly impressed by Jackman’s singing. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to a deeper more sonorous voice for Valjean.

On the technical points, the movie is one of the best of the year, the acting and visual work was spectacular. The editing needs work (or at least a director’s cut DVD…please.) and the directing while exceptional still could have been just a little better (I think the high cost of production may have prevented doing reshoots that other films might have done)…Hooper gets an A not A+.

The Political/Philosophical Points

Did you know this was Ayn Rand’s favorite book?  It was.  Kind of puts any thoughts that Les Mis is liberal out of the “obviously” category doesn’t it.

Okay let’s look at some of the points. On their own merits.

“I am the master of hundreds of workers, they all look to me.  Can I abandon them, how will they live if I am not free. I speak I am condemned, if I stay silent, I am damned.”

Jean Valjean is a convict, yes. But while that’s all that Javert sees, we’re supposed to see more.  We’re supposed to see the successful businessman who not only created a whole industry in a town, bringing it out of poverty and into an economic renaissance, but who also out of Christian charity (not guilt, it should be noted that if you read the book Valjean is motivated by a desire to be a better person, not by guilt about his prior actions) creates hospitals and schools for the poor.  In a day and age when lesser writers like Dickens would just recycle the terrible image of the robber baron, Hugo gave us a noble businessman as an example of what others should be. It should also be noted that in a very Atlas Shrugged kind of way, Hugo has no illusions that once Valjean is forced to run the industry and the town is not able to survive in its thriving state without Valjean’s leadership. The book to a great degree, with touches still in the movie, shows that prosperity is driven by captains of industry.

“Take my hand I’ll lead you to salvation.  Take my love, for love is everlasting.  And remember the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Further it should be noted what a deeply religious story this story is.  It is God and the Bishop of Digne, not government that redeems Valjean.  God and faith permeate all levels of this story.  Faith ironically is what drives both Valjean and Javert.  And it never condemns any form of faith, showing that all those fallen (except sadly Javert, whom I’m sure Hugo would have placed there) together in heaven.

The novel, the play, and now the movie praise faith.  It’s a rarity these days in serious well produced films.  And given the desperate need for spirituality in our modern world, something like this must be embraced.

“Let us die facing our foe […] Let others rise to take our place until the Earth is FREE!”

And dare we forget that much of the second half of the story is taken up by an uprising by Republican revolutionaries, seeking a return to law and not the capricious whims of a king.

“But, but, but” some liberals will complain.  The book is about helping the poor, and how unjust the criminal justice system is.  Those are liberal issues. And what they fail to realize is that these are different times and different issues.  The poor in 19th century France were starving (a problem with accuracy is that even the slums of France look too pretty in this movie…honestly we wouldn’t have felt comfortable actually watching what the “The Miserable” of 19th century France looked like…it wasn’t quite Nazi Concentration Camp, but certainly not as pretty as this film depicts it), the poor in 21st century America are suffering an obesity epidemic.  Hugo critiqued those who were lazy and those who felt entitled.  Poverty of the kind Hugo witnessed in France was what he wanted us to feel empathy for, modern poverty would not likely bring as much empathy from Victor.  And he would be horrified by the lack of the churches and religion in the government welfare that modern liberals champion.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t compare the legal system that punished Valjean for 20 years and hounded him for life for stealing a loaf of bread to our modern system…yes we have problems, but we have the kind of problems Hugo would have only dreamed of.

“Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.”

Of course for me one of the most revealing passages in Les Miserable is when Hugo takes a moment to critique communism.

(It should be noted the terms Socialism and Communism at the time do not have the same meaning now…what he calls Communism would be more in line with modern European Socialism…the term Capitalism was first used in 1854, 8 years before Hugo published Les Miserables—it took him nearly 20 years to write—and its usage as a economic system did not begin until Marx used it in 1867, 5 years after Les Miserables was published.  So he could never expect to hear him use the term capitalism even thought that seems to be what he’s calling for.   He certainly did not have the term cronyism which describes the economics of 19th century France better than anything.  So pay attention to the systems and practices he is referring to, not the titles, as he had no access to the title we currently use.)

“The reader will not be surprised if, for various reasons, we do not here treat in a thorough manner, from the theoretical point of view, the questions raised by socialism. We confine ourselves to indicating them.

All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, reverie and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems.

First problem: To produce wealth.

Second problem: To share it.

The first problem contains the question of work.

The second contains the question of salary.

In the first problem the employment of forces is in question.

In the second, the distribution of enjoyment.

From the proper employment of forces results public power.

From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness.

By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood.  The highest equality is equity.

From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity.

Social prosperity means the manhappy, the citizen free, the nation great.

England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters.

Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor.

It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides.

It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it.

The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one.

[…]

Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man who is making his way against the man who has reached the goal, adjust, mathematically and fraternally, salary to labor, mingle gratuitous and compulsory education with the growth of childhood, and make of science the base of manliness, develop minds while keeping arms busy, be at one and the same time a powerful people and a family of happy men, render property democratic, not by abolishing it, but by making it universal, so that every citizen, without exception, may be a proprietor, an easier matter than is generally supposed; in two words, learn how to produce wealth and how to distribute it, and you will have at once moral and material greatness; and you will be worthy to call yourself France.”

[Emphasis added]

You will notice he is proposing such things as universal education, due process of law, and property rights.  He condemns any attempt for everyone to have their fair and equal share and envying the wealthy.  He proposes that people be paid just wages for their work (which was an issue then, not so much now). He proposes to make every man his own master, that everyone may earn wealth.  I can’t speak with certainty what political path Hugo would take in the modern world, but I can be fairly certain that if a modern day liberal went back to see him, Hugo would try to slap the stupid out of the Occupy trash.  I can also be mildly sure that Hugo might encourage the building of a few barricades against some of the government overreaches of the modern world.

All in all, the story is one of the value of liberty, of the individual, of redemption through works and of God.  Those are conservative themes if I ever heard them.

“Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night

It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the Earth there is a flame that never dies,

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

We will live again in Freedom in the garden of the Lord.

We will walk behind the plowshares.  We will put away the sword.

The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?  Who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!”

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Filed under Books for Conservatives, Capitalism, character, Charity, Conservative, Faith, God, Government is corrupt, Happiness, Literature, Love, Movies, Movies for Conservatives, Patriotism, politics, Religion, Spirituality, Tyranny, virtue

Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part III

It’s been a month since the election…and as you can tell from the limited number of posts, I’m still kind of depressed Obama won, America Lostabout this (and overworked at work, but that’s another story).  I’m still shell-shocked that people could be that stupid—even I, who believe the masses are idiots, can’t fully comprehend that people are so fucking stupid as to vote in a tyrant not once but twice.  It baffles the mind.  If you care about only what you can get you should have voted for the guy who would guarantee a higher chance at raises and better jobs: Romney.  If you cared about other people you should have cared about the guy who would have done the most to improve the middle class: Mitt.  If you care about character it would be the guy who personally does charity whenever he can: Willard Mitt Romney. Intelligence, that would be the guy who got his J.D. and MBA in the same 4 years: The Governor.  Experience, class, vision, leadership, surrounding himself with qualified people.  On every criteria you can come up with it’s a no brainer, but, but, but…

People are really fucking short sighted, envious and dumb.

But are we just powerless to do anything? Are we at the mercy of party leadership to pull us out of this tailspin the country has voted itself in (dear god that’s a depressing thought)?  Luckily no.  Unfortunately I’m not promising anything easy either.

So what can we as individuals do?

Well first I would like to turn back to the exit polls.  Now looking at ethnicity or gender or even age is pointless because there is nothing we can do to change that.   People are what they are.  (Yes, age changes, but it’s not like we have any actual control over it).

2012 exit polls education

Now education can change (complete shocker that Obama the no intelligence/no high school bracket and the no real world experience/postgraduate bracket) but unless you’re a parent most of us can’t really affect people’s education.  If you are a parent, I might suggest that you state you’re not paying for any kind of college education unless they get a degree in the Math/Science area and thus have marketable skills (if they want to get a dual major and have a liberal art as well, well you can negotiate) but parents do not pay for Sociology degrees they are worthless and breed dumb liberals.

2012 exit polls single

Next we turn to gender and marriage status.  A lot of to do was made about women in this election, but as you see it wasn’t really women so much as single women.  And I have seen conservative writers talk about how the single women pose a threat to liberty as they seem to look to the government for the security nets…but it if you look at the data single men are also pretty dumb. The conclusion I’m drawing here isn’t that women are liberal, it’s that single people on the whole are liberal and need to be stopped.  (Yes, I as a bachelor, may not want to throw stones in a glass house, but I’m not as dumb as my fellow singles who voted for Barry…but if you are or know any single, intelligent, conservative, spiritually open women in the Phoenix area…well…my email address is posted…).  Now does this mean we should all go out and get married without standards or relationships, that marriage is an end unto itself. No.  One of the reasons we have a high divorce rate is that people don’t take the time to plan and make sure they’re making a right choice.  So really unless you want to start playing matchmaker which some of us are more qualified than others (this would certainly not be a skill of mine).

2012 exit polls religion

And then we see that Obama did well with the non-religious crowd* and Romney did well with the religious crowd.  Let me put these last two points in context. It doesn’t have as much to do with faith or companionship.  For a lot of people it is an issue of safety.  If you have a spouse, if you have an active church community you have someone you know you can fall back on if things go bad, if you don’t have these things, then the psychology of most people is to seek something you can fall back on: the government.  Now I would rather people evolve and see themselves as their fallback (or at least maybe God) but if we’re going to get there we first have to have an economic system that allows people to take care of themselves (i.e. we need to get rid of liberals and progressives at every level).

So what does this have to do with religion?  Well it means that if you’re a member of a church you need to encourage, push for, and if necessary demand, that your church be more active in the community—charity, public works and improvement projects, fundraisers not for the church but those honestly in need. This should have nothing to do with demonization or dogma.  Only about helping the community and strengthening the bonds of community.

If you’re not in a church, say a New Ager, it couldn’t hurt to find a non-pushy church out there and see if they would like help with those charity projects.

If you’re in a church that does do these kinds of charity projects then see if you can invite people you know to help, don’t proselytize, don’t make it about belief, only about helping others.  (Also may I suggest making your charity functions known to the local middle and high schools—students, especially college bound students, are more and more looking for community service on their resumes—and let them know their parents are invited as well).

This has nothing to do with dogma, it has to with a core tenet in every religion I can think of, charity, community, compassion.

Show people that government isn’t the only source that they can fall back on.  Look at it this way, the way people talk about others often shows how they themselves think.  I call it the “I am the world” fallacy, and I’m guilty of it myself sometimes, we all are.  We tend to make assumptions about the way people act based on our own habits and thoughts.  Conservatives naturally tend to think that the government isn’t needed because we ourselves are more generous and just assume everybody does the right thing.  Liberals assume others are avaricious, cruel, irrationally selfish, and miserly not because they’re saints and know everyone else is stingy, but because they themselves are not compassionate at their heart—they fear they will have no one to fall back on because in their heart of heart they know they won’t help other either.  (Liberals give to charity less than conservatives and they volunteer a hell of a lot less than conservatives, see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks).

But if we get people who might not usually attend church to come to charity events we can show them that people do care for people and that we don’t need government to care for us…and maybe we can even show them there is personal joy in compassion and charity.  Trust me, a person who does charity out of the joy it brings them never votes liberal, liberals give out of guilt not joy.

So get your church (or any other group that has the resources) involved in the community (if you’re not doing at least 3 events a month, it’s not enough), invite people to come just for the charity aspect, and watch their belief that the government is the only one looking out for them disappear (also with more human contact and larger social circles we might fix that single problem listed above).

Also this process will help destroy that one thing that Obama did well in “He cares about people like me.”

2012 exit polls key points

Charity and a strong community teach us that we are capable of caring for people who aren’t like ourselves.

But that can’t be all we have to do.  Liberals have done a great job with controlling the media.  News, movies, TV shows, you name it there are liberal messages.  But we cannot give in on this.

So there are a few things we can do.  The first is that we can try to pull their funding.  Here at the Conservative New Ager we’re going after that Goebbels style propaganda wing MSNBC.  We encourage people to write to their advertisers and pull their ads.  It works.  If a company just gets a hundred letters asking them to make sure the shows they are advertising on are only reporting the truth, they will either pull the ads or they will use the power their money buys them to get results.  We have already heard from P&G and UPS.

The next thing is that we need to expose people to the truth.  I would recommend everyone use all the social media they have to expose their friends to the truth.  Now you don’t have to repost a thousand articles every day, but don’t be afraid to share something for fear of losing a friend.  For everyone you lose you’ll likely help push a two or three that much closer to the truth.  (And if you’re like me you don’t have many liberal friends left anyway, it’s the middle we’re trying to win, not the ones beyond hope).

Also if you get a real newspaper (there aren’t many left: The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times…if it uses AP articles don’t bother) take it to work and leave it in the break room every day.  It can only help expose people to the truth.

But on that note we need to share the media that is conservative we need to focus on the stuff that isn’t the news and isn’t explicitly political.  Liberals have tried to infect every book, every movie, every show with liberal messages and just habituate people into thinking in liberal terms.  The problem is that most good literature is more conservative in its themes.  Self sufficiency, rational thought, ethical behavior, connection to God.  These subtle themes are in literature everywhere, even when it’s written by artists who are liberal themselves.  George Orwell was a socialist, but 1984 and Animal Farm are scathing critiques of the very state Orwell would likely have supported.   Given time, the truth will out, as a conservative writer once put it. What conservatives make the mistake of doing is trying to give people Atlas Shrugged and Ann Coulter and Thomas Sowell.  It doesn’t matter that we enjoy those, those books only preach to the choir.  If someone isn’t open to those ideas, if they’ve been indoctrinated to think conservatives are evil, Rand was psychotic, Coulter is vicious and Sowell is an Uncle Tom, it doesn’t matter if the facts are there, their emotional reaction to those works will prevent them from seeing the facts.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t share books and TV shows with friends, family, acquaintances. I’m sure we know lots of people who are not conservative but if they were introduced to those ideas the logic and reason of it would come out.  That is why I am putting together a list of books, movies and TV shows that depict the conservative themes and that we agree with, without being explicitly conservative.   The Individual, reason, ethical behavior, long term thinking, the truth.  These are things that bring people close to conservatism.  I would take a look at this list (and keep coming back as I hope to keep adding to it).  Lend these works out to people who you think might be open to them.  Give them as gifts for any holiday and any excuse you can.  And then discuss them with the person after they’ve read or watched it (never give out something you’re not familiar with already!  You don’t want to get caught where they make some silly liberal interpretation and don’t have a comeback for it).  It seems silly but ideas have power, and once they’re in a person’s mind they spread not just to affecting the other ideas of that mind but in the way they behave to others and the way they influence the ideas of others.  And if they get more conservative in their thoughts introduce them to the more explicitly conservative works…but don’t start with those, they’ll just shut people down.

Finally it’s the old stand-bys.  Write a blog or letters to editors.  Donate to organizations that promote your beliefs (right now I would focus on Heritage and Freedomwork because they do not seem overly obsessed with the social issues which are dragging this party down and giving the left too many easy targets), volunteer for campaigns, get involved.  We have four years where we can do next to nothing to save the economy or well being of our allies across the sea.  Nothing.  We have this idiot tyrant in charge and he will wreck the place as much as he can through a combination of stupidity and malice.  Focusing too much on that will be somewhat fruitless for us as individuals—but as individuals we do have the power to influence those around us and help bring them to our side.

*Also Obama did exceedingly well with people who aren’t not affiliated with any religion but are spiritual  you know, the kind of people the Republicans and Reincarnation was written specifically for.  If you know some of these people, could it hurt to give them a copy?

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The Great Greg Gutfeld at The Reagan Library

The first 8 minutes is dead air, but if you skip that it is a great speech by the most under-appreciated personality on the right.

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Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part II

So as I explained in the last part there are reasons that we can’t beat Obama at his game right now.  His data mine is geared to categorizing people by demographics of gender and race, things that can’t be changed, and then he plays to these groups based on promising them things (the fact that his gifts really hurt most of these groups in the long run is only secondary).

So how do we win?

Well first let’s take a look at a few things.

When you compare the 2008 numbers to the 2012* numbers you find that Romney beat McCain’s total numbers and he did much better than McCain in 32 states (possibly more as some states still haven’t certified).  The three states that saw the biggest loss in GOP numbers were New Jersey, New York (and Sandy might be partially to blame for those two) and California—all three liberal bastions where conservatives may have seen no reason to come out.

Obama did worse in all but 4 states.  (Again, maybe a couple more when the counting is done, but it’s still pathetic).

The next thing to look at is that Romney did better with almost every group (except Latinos) than McCain, including young African Americans (which offers hope that this voting block is beginning to realize they’re being used and exploited).

So we’re making headway anyway.

But we can’t rest on that for obvious reasons.

So what I see are the larger things that we, as individuals, may not have a lot of control over…and the smaller things we can do.

Let’s start with the larger stuff.

Now as the great Dirty Sex & Politics points out we do need to rebrand ourselves. 

And as many of the right have pointed out we need conservative media and conservative politicians to confront the liberal propaganda and spin even more.

And we also need to learn to not fall into all these stupid traps liberals set.

Now this last one is probably the easiest.  Most of the liberal traps deal with social issues (The libertarians did 600,000 voters better in 2012 than 2008, now, granted that’s a lot of anti-war liberal cowards, but it’s still something we can try and poach).  So everyone needs to remember this line and pass it on when it comes to any social policy at the federal level:

“I do not support that personally, but I am a conservative which means I support limited federal government and the Tenth Amendment.   While I don’t support that issue personally, it is not the place of the federal government to pick a side one way or the other, that is for individual states to decide and I will stop any attempt by the federal government to intrude on this issue.

And on issues where this can’t help but involve federal issues, the federal government must follow what the majority of the states are doing at the time. “

There you can be against drugs, gay marriage, abortion…but since we believe in the 10th Amendment we don’t think it’s the role of the federal government and will not do anything where the states chose in a way that contradicts our beliefs.  Social conservatives, this still allows you to not betray any of your values, but it also upholds your values of state’s rights…oh and it will allow us to win more elections.

You might want to tell me I’m wrong on this, but look at these exit poll numbers.

Blanket opposition to abortion isn’t going to win.  Ever again.  Now making it a state’s rights issue can win and you can prevent your tax dollars from funding anything…but just a blanket opposition is stupid.  The majority support abortion, the exit polls numbers and Gallup confirm this.

We need Voter ID laws in every state.  Better checks to make sure we don’t have false registrations (and Draconian punishments for turning in false registrations or “losing” the registrations of people aren’t for the party you like).  We need laws to clear the voter rolls every 2 to 4 years.  We need to dump these voting machines which seem to be a little too prone to leftist cheating and go back to paper ballots.  And we need laws ensuring that military will be counted no matter what.

Now really long term I would love it if we could get a lot of blue states to split their electoral votes, but that’s a pipe dream.  And really long term I think we need to look into overturning the 26th Amendment.  Yes, it seemed all nice and fuzzy and right to give 18 year olds the vote when we had the draft…but honestly, have you met most 18 year olds?  I mean we don’t trust these idiots with alcohol or rental cars…but we trust them with the future of the nation?  Yeah there are exceptions, and I’m more than willing to say anyone who has served or is serving their nation has the right to vote…but honestly, I think we need to move the age up to 30.  I mean just look at these numbers.  People under 30 are statistically idiots.

And of course we need the GOP to put some money into voter turn out at all levels, not just relying on the Presidential candidate to do it…which seemed to be their really dumb move this year.

Finally, the conservatives in power need to hold the line.

That means that the debt ceiling does not get raised (unless maybe we adopt the Ryan budget and overturn Obamacare).

That means we don’t make compromises unless we get something we really want or it gets us halfway to our goals….

…oh so you want to raise taxes on the rich.  And we want to get rid of loopholes and lower those taxes. We’ll meet you halfway and get rid of all loopholes for those making over $250K. (That way we just have to worry about lowering the rate when we get in).

…oh you want big public work programs and amnesty for all the illegal immigrants (oh I’m sorry we can’t use that term anymore, migrant felons)…okay then we want real immigration reform in exchange for amnesty and we’ll let you have a big public works project building a big damn wall on the southern border.

You know compromises like that.

As for the sequestration…I’m not that concerned about it honestly.  Yes it will cut military spending, and in the short run this is problematic.  But honestly the smaller military that this dimwit has at his disposal, that’s probably for the best.

These simple things will help us stay true to our values but make us more likely to win, reduce the liberal chance to cheat, and get us what we actually want.

This needs to be the plan the GOP holds to because it is the plan that will work.

But what can we do as individuals?  I’ll deal with that in the third part.

*I’m going to spare you the chart with all the state by state numbers unless anyone asks for it.

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Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part I

Okay so I needed to reflect on the election for some time before I wrote anything meaningful on this.  Quick statements just to fill air time have over the past couple of weeks mainly been ignorant, self-serving or just stupid.

Why I was wrong

I was wrong because I made the incorrect assumption to trust that polls like Rasmussen would continue to be the most accurate.
I was wrong because I made the incorrect assumption to trust equally respected polls that showed huge Republican enthusiasm which would usually mean that the Rasmussen polls were off in favor of Republicans.

I was wrong because I simply assumed PPP polls would continue to hack partisan polls that were never all that close.

I was wrong because I assumed Democratic cheating wouldn’t be as effective as it was.
I was wrong because I, even I who have a very low opinion of people, couldn’t possibly conceive of people being so fucking dumb that they would reelect this idiotic wanna-be-despot.  I really couldn’t believe America could be that dumb.

Why We Lost

First off, between counties that had over 100% turnout, military ballots being sent out at wrong times and then going missing, programmers saying every electronic machine was rigged, and buses of immigrants showing up to vote out of the blue, the fact is that there appears to be a heavy amount of cheating going on by the Democratic party.  I’d say I’m shocked but I’m not.  This is what democrats do.  Now is every accusation of cheating real, doubt it, and fewer still are provable, but you’re living in la-la land if you think elections have been on the up and up when it comes to Democratic votes…it’s how they’ve won elections ever since Joe Kennedy bought the election back in 1960.

But I was expecting cheating and fraud…which means either the Democrats have gotten even better at it, or, as I’m more afraid is the truth, people were kind of dumb on November 6th.  The fact that cheating was enough to sway the election means that we have problems because this shouldn’t have even been close, this should have been a landslide against Obama and yet it wasn’t.  So that can’t be the only problem.  What else went wrong?

We can also blame the media.  Almost every reporter on the Romney trail and most of the major outlets were trying to find gaffes and slip ups.  They were actively trying to portray him in the worst possible light.  And they were conveniently ignoring everything about Obama and his record, including, low and behold that Obama let 4 Americans die through his depraved indifference because he thought going in might be bad for his reelection.  But we can’t lay full blame on the media, because as annoying and biased as they are, there’s Drudge, there’s FOXNews, there’s Breitbart and the Blaze and Twitter and NewsBusted and the Washington Times and the Heritage Foundation and a 101 other sources.  The information was there if people just listened.

Well apparently the ground game was abysmal from the GOP and great from Obama’s side.  Now part of this is that Obama used his obscene huge data mine to play his usual game of divisive politics (more on this later) Part of the problem is also that Romney’s system  which was supposed to help make sure all GOP voters got to the polls, ORCA, failed on election day—hmmm, an online system to help conservatives failed…I’m going to offer 50/50 odds that the terrorists known as Anonymous might have had something to with this.  But whether they did or not, I have to ask where was the ground game for the GOP House, for the GOP Senate, from local state parties?  As usual the entire party disappoints me.  We had a terrible ground game and did not do enough to get people to the polls.

Now many idiots (Santorum, Gingrich, Levin, etc) want to blame Romney.  This is beyond wrong because Romney didn’t do anything wrong.  As Ann Coulter points out Romney wasn’t the problem.  Romney was a conservative’s conservative.  Now I think Romney was not as much of a fighter as he could have been…but I don’t think that would have made a difference because every time he tried to hit the worthless jackass hard the media spun it as Romney was a terrible person…so is it Romney wasn’t a fighter or is it that Romney just knew to avoid a fight he couldn’t win?

But even with all of that why did we lose?  Well because Romney was right.  There is a portion of this country that thinks they’re entitled to shit and Obama targeted specific groups and pandering to them by giving them gifts.

Oh before you dare complain about that statement, let’s look at a few facts.

According to the exit polls here are the groups Obama did really well with (I’m defining really as over 10%) Women, those under 30, non-white voters, those with a high school diploma or less (he was +29 with those with no diploma), the LGBT crowd, those people who never get out of academia known as the post graduate crowd, those making under 50K, people who do not go to church very often.

Hmmm let’s look at those groups again.

Women…pandered to with the fake war on women and Fluke’s endlessly whining.

Under 30…pandered to with promises of more college money (by the way you do know he’s cutting Pell grants right?)

Those without education and making less than 50K pandered to food stamps and welfare and a whole lot of other entitlements.  As Dennis Miller points out you can make close to 45K just by living off the dole these days.

And those with Post Graduate degrees (already being fairly clueless of how the real world works) he pandered to with promises of more teaching jobs.

The LGBT crowd with promises of gay marriage (then turned around and said it wouldn’t be a priority for him).

And the largest group with the non Caucasian crowd, Latinos, he gave that Dream Act amnesty with the implication more was on the way.

Of course the difference between Obama and Santa is that, worst case, Santa will give you a piece of coal, whereas Barry is not only not going to give anyone what they promised, but he’s going to outlaw coal as well.

Yes how terrible of Romney to point out that that Obama’s giving out things and making promises to specific groups was giving out things and making promises to specific groups.  How dare he pay attention to the man behind the curtain and not just fall in line with the typical intentional ignorance of what is going on?

Obama divided people into groups, played on the most base impulses and fears of any individual and treated them as he sees them, only as groups.  And this worked for him because education, media and the government have treated people only as groups for years.  And we lost because of that.
Now the knee jerk reaction might be to start playing their game of identify politics, as some have suggested.  But this is a losing strategy.  The only way to win identify politics, to say that this group values things that other group don’t, is Obama’s way to give out gifts.  We are conservatives, we believe in ideas, in values and in individuals, and to treat people as only members of groups is to betray our values and forget everything that makes America, America.  Now there are things we need to do, and I’m going to go into more detail on that soon, but we must realize we lost because for years they have been playing this game of divisiveness and hatred and that we haven’t confronted it head on is the reason we lost.

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Obama did say, “You didn’t build that” and worse…Part III

 

“They might be giants, and we might be pygmies; but we stand on the shoulders of giants, so we can see farther.” Attributed to Sir Isaac Newton

So just to recap, Obama did actually say that government is responsible for all of your success and this is perhaps the dumbest idea in history.

Liberals will try and deflect from this by pointing out that Romney said the following at the Salt Lake Olympics:

Hand it to liberals to take a quote out of context…and still miss the point of what they’re taking out of context.

Well first off this, unlike the “You didn’t build that” comment is slightly out of context.  But before we get to context let’s just deal with the quote the liberals chose…as even that isn’t the same thing as Obama’s dipshit statement.

Let’s see what words does Romney use in that quotes.  Encouraged.  Guided.  None of which is equivalent to “You didn’t do that others did that.”   “All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them up.”  Which of course brings us back to the quote I have started each part of this series with: “but we stand on the shoulders of giants, so we can see farther.”  Those who stand on the shoulders, on the groundwork others have built have done something those people couldn’t.  They have done something that almost no one else could.

But is thanking someone equivalent to you didn’t do that?  No.  Look at the front or back of any book there is a long list of thanks and acknowledgements by the author to the people who helped them.  But just because people may have helped in deep and meaningful ways, it is the author’s name on the dust jacket because they’re the one who did the vast majority of the work, they’re the ones who created something out of nothing, they’re the ones who poured their soul out, worked long hours, fought the impulse to give up and created something.  And this is true of ANY entrepreneur, any Olympian, any person who accomplishes anything. They may have help and they should thank those individuals who helped them…but no sane person mistakes the kind of help individuals offer to one another for the actual accomplishment itself.

But ignoring that there is even a massive gulf between the two quotes out of context, let’s look actually at the full quote and see how while “You didn’t build that” wasn’t taken out of context, the Romney one kind of is.

“Tonight we cheer the Olympians, who only yesterday were children themselves,” Romney said. “As we watch them over the next 16 days, we affirm that our aspirations, and those of our children and grandchildren, can become reality. We salute you Olympians – both because you dreamed and because you paid the price to make your dreams real. You guys pushed yourself, drove yourself, sacrificed, trained and competed time and again at winning and losing.” …

“You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right!.”

Remember how the full context of Obama’s statement was that it doesn’t matter if you’re smart or worked hard because lots of people are smart and lots of people worked hard…and I guess the implication is that they all fail if government isn’t there to decide who wins and who loses. Everything preceding Obama’s statement was “You are not good enough.  You cannot do it on your own.  Your intellect and drive are worthless unless government decides you should win.”  Well notice the context of Romney’s quote.  He starts off telling the Olympians they did do that.  “We salute you Olympians – both because you dreamed and because you paid the price to make your dreams real.”  (And don’t even get me started on how Obama wouldn’t understand the idea of paying the price for your dreams…he is a man who has had everything in his life handed to him without effort…which is why he believes you didn’t build that, he didn’t.)

“We salute you Olympians” Did Obama anywhere in his speech say we should salute the businessman who create products and services for us to buy or whose business creates jobs and wealth?  Does he say anywhere we should applaud them for taking a risk that could have lost them everything?  Does he say we should be in awe of them sometimes, like now when they’re keeping their businesses alive when they have a piece of shit President doing everything in his power (both through legal and illegal means) to try and destroy them?  Nope he doesn’t.  Romney starts his speech acknowledging that it is the individual who accomplished something that deserves credit first and foremost.  Obama doesn’t even understand that this should be anywhere on the list.

“You guys pushed yourself, drove yourself, sacrificed, trained and competed time and again at winning and losing.”  Romney recognizes that it is the individual who chooses to push themselves and the individual who works to achieve their goal. The greatest parents and coaches in the world in the best facilities in the world can’t do a thing if the person isn’t willing to drive themselves.  Compare that to “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.”  In Obama’s world you don’t push yourself to achieve, you’re “allowed” to achieve because government, all powerful government, deigns that you may achieve at their sufferance.

So in answer to question that some truly idiotic liberal put on that picture above “Why is it ok for Mitt to remind elite athletes that they didn’t do it alone, but when Obama says the same of business people, the Right throws a hissy fit?”  Because what Mitt and Barry are saying are not equivalent.  Because there is a difference between you had help in achieving your dream and you didn’t do it, the government did it for you.  Because one embraces what the individual is capable of and one denies the ability to shape your own life.  Because one glorifies what man is capable of and one denies he is capable of anything.  Because one is the basis of a system that provides freedom for the individual and one is the basis for the slavery of the collective.  Maybe that’s why we’re getting into a “hissy fit” as idiotic liberals put it (intelligent people might call it justified righteous indignation). Because we can tell the difference between ideas and recognize their consequences.

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