Jaundiced thoughts out of season
Dear Mr. Auster:
Even amidst the general cavorting of establicons, it is with considerable jaundice that Shrewsbury beholds such phenomena as the election of Scott Brown, or the anticipated supernova of Republican glory this November. The reason for this is twofold: (1) Republicans are the servants of liberalism. Even while their masters heap scorn upon them, they do the work necessary to keep the rotten estate going for a few more years. Without Republicans, it would all have collapsed already. (2) The continuing flood of third-world immigrants guarantees a permanent Democrat hold on the government, unless both parties move so far left that voting Republican merely means voting for a more efficient socialism. Indeed, to Republican creatures such as Karl Rove this doesn’t matter, just so long as their team wins.
No, these temporary Republican victories are a distraction from the ideological struggle, from the necessity of a complete sociopolitical upheaval, at present almost inconceivable, which alone can restore the United States. The Roves and Hannitys will wax triumphant when in fact nothing will have been won but a comforting illusion of succour whilst the rot proceeds apace. Whatever success Republicans achieve this November will define an absolute upper limit of non-leftism which is dropping day by day as the marxoids and “neoconservatives”—those scary neoleninist zealots who can write a long article about the decline of California without even tangentially referring to the Mexican invasion—usher in more and more third-worlders to dilute and ultimately obliterate the historical American people.
Do you know, when Shrewsbury first began reading VFR in 2003, he felt a certain nagging impatience with it because words seemed to him futile, he felt that what was necessary was revolutionary action. In the intervening years however his view has turned completely around. Words are precisely what is needed. He now perceives that action without a solid ground of theory is largely useless and even self-defeating: e.g. Glenn Beck’s retarded dog-and-pony show in D.C. last August, or even the wider Tea Party movement, diffuse and formless as it is. Could anything be more pathetic than that photo of those two knuckleheads flanking the bruthah and holding up that excruciating sign, “Do we look racist?” (Actually, yes, you do, but….) Is that what the struggle is about? Proving to the media that we’re not “racist?” Often it seems so.
Are we not weary unto death of seeing Republicans temporarily given the reins of government merely in order to restore to it sufficient functionality to continue the liberal assault on America? This is why Shrewsbury could not care less whether Meg Whitman bests the marxoid Jerry Brown in the election for governor of the FUBAR State. What would that accomplish? She props up the tottering edifice of state for another four years so another million Mexicans can join the invasion and the fundamental rottenness can get even worse. Let it all come down, says Shrewsbury. The Ruskies did themselves no favors by fumbling for so long trying to make Marxism-Leninism functional. Let the Democrats have all the government. Let the Supreme Court be filled to the brim with wise Latinas and lesbian “clydesdale yentas”; let it be ineluctably forced into the face of every citizen that our government has become a hostile farce.
Why elect a Republican? Richard Nixon oversaw the full and forced desegregation of Southern schools that had eluded his Democratic predecessors, then denied tax-exempt status to the private academies to which white Southerners had in desperation sent their children. He institutionalized affirmative action and set-asides for minorities in federal contracting. Is this friend or enemy? Enemy. Even if a presidential candidate were truly conservative, he would merely serve as a stalking horse for cynical “moderate” Republicans. We’ve seen that show already. Supposedly-conservative yakkers like Sean “Dimwit” Hannity pine for the supposedly golden age of Reagan, but Shrewsbury well remembers the slowly crushing disappointment as that administration unfolded, with jobsworths and nonentities like Michael Deaver and the ubiquitous quack David Gergen gaining decisive influence and strangling every non-liberal effort. Reagan signed into law the abomination of the M. L. King, Jr., federal holiday; appointed to the Supreme Court the feckless Sandra Day O’Connor apparently just because she was a woman, in an obviously futile attempt to curry favor with liberaldom; signed the heinous 1986 amnesty, which any nonliberal could see would lead straight to the broken country we have today; and did nothing to turn back the march of the left through the institutions, indeed seemed oblivious to it. Reagan adopted the usual Republican role of performing just sufficient tweaks and repairs to keep liberalism going for a few more years (whilst, like little children at naptime, the liberals shriek at the cruelty of it all), rather than rolling it up and flushing it away. How is it conservatism when what you’re conserving is in fact liberalism?
In short, electing Republicans is worse than useless so long as Republicans are basically functional liberals. From this new viewpoint, nothing appears more important than the ideological struggle; and thus revolutionary websites such as VFR become more important than electoral success. Neither blithering mass rallies, nor triangulating politicians will get us anywhere unless first there is widespread ideological conversion.
If conservatives began openly to reject the central tenet of “liberalism,” that of totalitarian nondiscrimination, would the left and its running dogs in the media become even more hysterical about the evil right than they are today? Two responses: (1) Yes, though it wouldn’t be easy; and (2) if the Men of the West want to live, they had better cease to care whether “liberals” call them names or not.
I would just say this for the moment. I do not see the Tea Party and the prospect of a huge Republican victory this year as leading to the salvation of America. I see it as something that is necessary to stop and turn back the terrible things the Democrats have been doing. It is like the battle over comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 and 2007. Stopping that nation-destroying bill did not solve our problems as a country; it prevented a vastly worse thing from happening. Or it’s like the successful escape of the British army from Dunkirk in 1940. As Churchill said, an escape is not a victory, but if the British army had not escaped, Britain would have been lost. If the Democrats’ program and particularly Obamacare are not turned back, America will be lost; we will have come under a hideous statist regime from which there will be no escape.
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James R. writes:
You say it’s necessary to elect Republicans though we know they are fail in order to turn back what is happening. However, this strategy has been tried many times and Shrewsbury correctly identifies the result: Rather than turning back the tide, it allows it to entrench itself as the accepted bipartisan status-quo. Conversely, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” bill was not thwarted by electing more Republicans, but by thwarting the Republican part of the establishment, which was and remains just as complicit as the Progressive part is. [LA replies: In 2006, the Republican controlled House refused even to look at the Comprehensive Immigration bill that had been passed by the Senate. People really need to be able to count beyond one in order to talk sensibly about politics. Meaning, (1) it’s true that the Republicans as they are cannot save us, AND (2) it’s true that having Republicans in power can have radically different and better results than having Democrats in power. In this past Congressional session, the Republicans in the House voted unanimously against porkulus, unanimously against Obamacare. That was an extraordinary thing. How about giving them some credit?]
Shrewsbury’s strategy is to get our frog to hop out of this water. For good. The strategy of electing Republicans so the rate at which the temperature rises can be cut (momentarily) has failed.
That said, when it comes to individual candidates, I can’t help but want what-passes-for-ours to win and to see every individual Progressive decisively defeated. If we had an actual prospect of so thoroughly repudiating Progressivism this year as to really overturn all this, I’d be in line at the polls right now. Instead we have what we have and it’s a gradually declining prospect. We see these waves every time the Progressives get full control over the elective branches of government, people do repudiate it, but never decisively enough and ultimately by electing people who somehow manage to put lipstick on the pig.
James P. writes:
“I do not see the Tea Party and the prospect of a huge Republican victory this year as leading to the salvation of America. I see it as something that is necessary to stop and turn back the terrible things the Democrats have been doing.”
Being “anti” Obama, Reid and Pelosi is necessary, but not sufficient, for the salvation of America. What is needed is a fundamental repudiation of liberalism.
If the Republicans win big, my prediction is that the Tea Partiers will try to attack the things the Democrats have been doing, but the RINO establishment will successfully run interference for the Democrats. Status quo continues, and Republicans get tarred with responsibility for the ongoing political and economic failures.
Rick Darby writes:
Shrewsbury is right, the last thing we need is to meet the new bosses, same as the old bosses. Still, many of the GOP candidates this year sound like a new breed, even if few or none represent a fundamental turnaround. I don’t see how the kind of ideological change he hopes for can occur in a vacuum, separate from the messy and unsatisfying electoral process and the Congress we get. A few more voices on Capitol Hill talking sense about the consuming growth of the federal government, bloated budgets, pointless wars, immigration, and other subjects dear to our hearts are a necessary—though not sufficient—condition for the counter-revolution. Rome wasn’t undone in a day, and neither will be the present hypertrophied federal state.
No, we shouldn’t trust naively in Republicans or tea partyers. They need to be tied to the mast when they hear the Siren song of the Washington Insider club. But there is opportunity here, and let’s not blow it with over-the-top cynicism.
James R. replies to LA:
Credit where credit is due but the fact that the bill passed the Senate and popular outrage caused the House not to touch it and the Democratic House likewise not to touch such a Bill does not mean electing some more Republicans to, as James P. points out, arrive just in time to be foisted with responsibility for the inevitable failures of the Health Care Act’s already-enacted grants of open-ended regulatory authority, along with the other bad economic policies, is far from a solution. [LA replies: This statement is (a) a non sequitur, and (b) incorrect on its face. The Republicans voted unanimously against Obamacare, in one of the starkest legislative standoffs on a nation-changing bill in U.S. history. How can they be made responsible for the bill, when they opposed it and are committed to repealing it?]
Meanwhile have you noticed that despite the popular outcry over the immigration aims of the establishments of both parties, these migrations continue, and the facts on the ground continue to be altered informally respite the lack of formal “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”? If we could elect into power (rather than just into office) sufficient numbers of Gov. Brewer types to make a difference, I’d be for it. Heck at this point I’d be satisfied if we could just enact the reforms proposed by (Democrat) Barbara Jordan’s Commission 15 years ago. But those aren’t even within the realm of legitimate policy debate—today the recommendations of her commission would be waived out of order as intolerant, jingoistic, exclusionary, and discriminatory. Which tells us all we need to know about the direction of things.
I can count beyond one. I can actually count beyond two, to three. Those who enacted the policies we’re under need to be forced to hold full responsibility for their inevitable consequences, then they can be repudiated completely in a way that will actually accomplish something. Proposing following the same game plan that we have “successfully” followed three or four times in the passed with at best “mixed” results, results that slow down but do not stop much less reverse the trends you condemn, is certainly counting to two, but there are numbers beyond two.
There are arguably better candidates this time around, and as I said I can’t help but favor their victory in each instance. But we’ve thought that in the past and we have had such successes. All it has succeeded in doing is ameliorating things just enough that instead of Progressivism reaching its logical conclusion in time for its damages to be limited, it has sunk itself deeper in, and the corrosion has spread thoroughly, while they have been given the opportunity to cloud the issue of what is responsible for the state of things.
James R. continues:
Let me put it this way: Unless the election results are so overwhelming as to demonstrate an unmistakble repudiation of Progressivism, I’d like to see the Republicans gain about 30-32 seats in the House and 6-8 in the Senate. That would have about the same effect you hope for, but without clouding the issue of who is responsible for the coming consequences of policies already enacted.
Gaining, say, 40 Seats in the House and 10 in the Senate would be worthless. They won’t be able to do anything other than provide the Administration with a scapegoat to whip. It’s better to leave the Democrat’s responsibility obvious and uncluttered but trim their majorities as the means of preventing them from doing worse harms.
James R. replies to LA:
Any observer of American politics over the last—well, pick a time period—can see how Republicans/Conservatives will be made responsible for the failures of Democratic/Progressive policies. I’m surprised you’re unaware of the process by which they repeatedly claim things would have worked if it wasn’t for those Republican saboteurs wrecking it, under-funding it, otherwise meddling undermining it. This trope is so prevalent on the Left that I did not think I had to describe this process, the most recent example of which may be the Housing bubble and the financial crisis that produced the current recession. You don’t hear that from Obama and the Democrats every day? What method indeed did they use to win the last election, if it wasn’t create a problem and then appoint themselves to fix it while blaming the consequences of the policies they promoted on Republicans?
There are so many examples of this process over the last hundred years that I did not htink I had to outline it.
Your controlling approach here is to worry about what the left will say about the Republicans. Which, you don’t seem to realize, undermines the entire theme of your last several comments. You want real conservatives in power, as distinct from weak, moderate Republicans. But what is it, more than any other factor, that defines weak, moderate Republicans? Their fear of what the left will say about them. And what is it that defines real conservatives? Their lack of concern for what the left says about them.
A reader writes:
The progressive revolution was accomplished without blood. The counter-revolution can still do likewise IMO. We need a truly conservative president and Congress at some point in the next decade, with active Tea Parties monitoring them and reminding them of why they were elected. Hopefully November 2 will be the tidal wave we hope for, and put some lasting fear into whoever we elect. I think the new Republican Congress will realize it is “on probation” and that is all to the good.
The remaining main barriers to meaningful change are a federal judiciary infected by the progressive cultural virus, and the progressives’ deathgrip on the universities and public schools. Undermining those barriers will be difficult and take time, but is achievable. Thankfully, the progressives no longer monopolize the mass distribution of information. With respect to the judiciary, the Supreme Court still does not have a radical majority bloc, and Obama should be unable to get another radical approved by the next Senate (if he even gets another appointment). As to schools and universities, there are many, many creative steps that could be taken at both federal and state level by strong-willed conservative majorities, and that would be fairly popular if well-marketed. (Witness Christopher Christie’s popularity in New Jersey.) The real weakness of the teacher’s unions and established universities is that over the past three decades or so they have made themselves mostly dependent on centralized government for their funding. I could go on for pages speculating about the opportunities that would give to a conservative centralized government in a time of deep public concern about spending—but I don’t have the time and don’t want to presume on your attention!
As far as illegal immigration is concerned, a quick observation: illegal Mexicans are currently self-deporting on a net basis due to the economy. Arizona has shown that even a mild increase in enforcement significantly increases that trend. Voter ID, a border fence, a genuine system for quickly and easily identifying a person’s legal status, and the federal government granting clear authority to states and cities to enforce immigration law would have an enormous impact. Those measures are all highly popular, are all relatively cheap to implement,* and could all be swiftly implemented as early as 2013 with the right election results. We probably would have had those already, around 2003, if GWB had not held such idiosyncratic and out-of-touch views on this issue.
*E.g., it would be delicious to fund such measures by denying federal money to all “sanctuary” cities.
James R. replies to LA:
Incorrect; my approach is concern over what the electorate will be persuaded of. This distinction should be obvious. I am beginning to conclude you want to give an uncharitable reading of my comments here, for whatever reason, though they are in line with someone’s who you say is “on a tear.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 18, 2010 09:42 AM | Send
To return the favor of an uncharitable reading, you want more Republicans in office. I want conservatives in power. The charitable reading is that you are confusing moderates seeking the approval (or at least not the condemnation) of the Left with seeking the most effective way for them to be decisively defeated so that we can accomplish what we haven’t in 90 years: a return to normalcy. An actual reversal of the things you see as destructive, instead of Republicans ineffectually holding office without the ability to really accomplish these ends.
Failing to recognize that getting a few more in power may thwart the real goal is a blind spot. So is failing to acknowledge the distinction between fear of what the Left will say and compelling them to take and be seen and understood to take full responsibility for their own policies so that they will be repudiated decisively and we will be able to get something that all the concern over one election cycle has never gotten you in the past.
You know that the vast majority of the opinion-shaping information streams are hostile to true conservatism and friendly to Progressivism and will, without conspiracy, naturally want to present conservatism as responsible for anything bad and the Left as responsible for anything positive. That being the case, the most effective way to demonstrate the folly of Progressivism is to deny them that tool, the tool of a scapegoat, so that they will be repudiated and replaced with unapologetic conservatives.
I have to believe that you fully understand that they use it, and with significant political/electoral effectiveness, which is why a center-Right country keeps drifting to the Left on all the issues you are concerned about. You also understand the dynamic where the supposedly right-wing media that now competes with the entrenched Progressive media actually in practice more often than not accepts Liberal assumptions on things like immigration and thus is unreliable.
All the stuff the anonymous reader recommends, for example, is true. So is the fact that a majority of the public favor it. So is the fact that under whatever mixture of party control over branches of government we have had (all Democrat, all Republican, Democrats in the White House, Republicans in Congress, and vice versa) none of it has been on the agenda.
As I said, if I could have Progressivism repudiated decisively tomorrow, I would happily do it and then implement our policies. I would not care how much they howled. But if that is not in the offing this time around, and I believe it is not, then I want to deny them the tool they have used in the past to make the issue of policy responsibility indeterminate. There is a definite distinction there from somehow wanting their approval and being willingness to compromise on principle (or at least stay quiet) as moderates do in order to get it and wanting the opportunity to really unseat them from power.