Featured Post

Castro and the Nazis: Makes Perfect Sense

As we come up on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we see newly declassified German intelligence documents reporting that Fi...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Striving for that "Strange New Respect"

Some thirty years ago, the brilliant and iconoclastic British-born American conservative thinker, essayist, editor, and journalist, Tom Bethell, came up with "The Strange New Respect Award." This was an award to bestow upon,
once-reliable conservatives who won liberal praise by adopting liberal policies. Of a sudden, an erstwhile Neanderthal would be treated in the Washington Post as someone who was no longer “simplistic” and “shrill” but rather a figure who had “grown” and showed himself to be “nuanced.”
Let's face it: It is tough to be a conservative in the current political and social environment. It is even tougher today than when Bethell created his award. It is tiring and relentless work to remain faithful to conservative principles. A conservative must stay on top of the facts all the time--and know where to find them since the leftist media will play fast and loose with those facts, even the most recent events quickly get rewritten. A conservative must have not only well-tuned analytical skills, but know history, economics, and even basic science (e.g., for dealing with the "global warming" hoax, or the anti-frack loons.) A conservative must withstand ceaseless liberal attacks, many of them personal, based on emotion and catch phrases, e.g., "You want children to die?" A conservative politician has it even harder: he, or, especially, she must live in an atmosphere heavily polluted by media, bureaucratic, Hollywood, and academic liberal biases. A woman, Latino, or black conservative will quickly find that liberal opponents are free to use the most vile misogynistic and racist terminology. A conservative's most carefully chosen and thought out words will get misreported, distorted, ridiculed, and dismissed. The Mau-Mauing, in short, is often highly personal , including attacks on family--e.g., Governor Palin's experience--and almost always non-stop--starts with the morning talk show and continues with the late night comics.

It takes a VERY thick hide and supreme self-confidence to resist this attack. It, therefore, is not surprising when conservatives or "moderate" Republicans crack under the assault. They will seek relief from the assault by trying to demonstrate in some dramatic way that, hey, they are not so right wing, that they do have pure hearts, that they do love puppies and children. This will lead them, for example, to support some big new government program--Presidents Nixon and Bush, for example, were guilty of this--or to stab another conservative in the back--the reaction, for example, by some GOPers to Senator Cruz's valiant stand on Obamacare.

We have seen many Republicans crack like this: to name a few, McCain, Graham, Christie, Rubio, and even the usually hard-as-nails Gingrich (e.g., hanging with Sharpton). They all felt a need for Bethell's "Strange New Respect Award." An intelligent man such as Rubio, for example, got pounded into supporting a bizarre immigration reform plan that would serve to create millions of new Democratic voters. McCain has been constant a seeker of the award, his attempts are just too numerous to record them all, but we note: his sabotage of Governor Palin; his support for the whacky immigration reform mentioned before; his backing of Obama's bizarre Libya and Syria policies; and now, of course, his failure to back defunding Obamacare and his attacks on Senator Cruz.

In my view, a conservative's default position must be to oppose all new government programs, regardless of how high-sounding they are, and constantly seek to eliminate or reduce existing programs. Any government program in the "socio-economic-humanitarian" realm will get taken over by liberals. Liberals in America are the party of government; one of the Democrats greatest source of votes and funds is government employees. Even programs aimed at essential functions such as national defense must be monitored fiercely for "mission creep." I think the average American would be stunned by how  much of the Pentagon's budget goes to items with little or no relevance to national defense. First off there are way too many flag rank officers and senior civilians. Even worse, however, the Pentagon, for example, has programs and offices dedicated to environmental issues, a lavish and wasteful PX/Commissary system, diversity and EEO offices, and lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, my God, does the Pentagon have lawyers. The liberals, by the way, have targeted the military for a special and sustained assault. The armed forces, long just about the only conservative-dominated branch of the federal government, is under liberal attack to undermine that largely male conservatism. The heavy promotion of women; the insistence on the acceptance of gays; the insistence on political correctness in military education and programs that made the Ft. Hood shooting possible, etc.

I don't want to make this any longer. I just get more and more pessimistic about the future of our country as I see Republicans striving for that "Strange New Respect" from the liberals who are destroying the nation.

38 comments:

  1. Viewed dimly - in every sense of that word - from 'over here', your 'hero' Cruz does not seem too bright, either! Surely you do not pick fights that you are bound to lose. If Obamacare is as big a shambles as you and others suggest then a better tactic is to step back, holding your nose, making clear your warnings and then let it through whilst admitting to the American people that (thanks to them!) you do not have the power to halt it. At the same time, of course, you put forward your alternative to improve American health services - and that is something I have not heard, perhaps because the shoutin' 'n' hollerin' has been too loud!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cruz may indeed prove to be just another loon. Certainly MSM, Democrats and Republicans of a certain ilk have gone out of their way to describe him as a raving lunatic. But, and this is important to remember, when the spittle begins to fly and the vitriol requires waders, somebody somewhere is very uncomfortable with what's being said by Mr. Cruz. If he's just a lone nutter, why the artillery barrage?

      Delete
    2. It's called "battlespace preparation" and there a lot of conservatives who are energized that someone has the stones to stand up to the liberal taxmoney consuming machine. Ted Cruz may lose a battle but the war will continue.

      Delete
    3. Even better, the GOP should have forced the Dems to strictly enforce all provisions of the ACA as passed to the letter. No exemptions to unions, no one year deferral of the employer mandate, and so on. They should have brought all of these to a recorded vote so that the Dems would be on record as having voted against provisions of the ACA. But nobody listens to me anyway...

      Delete
    4. You're right but as is, the ACA has been so bastardized from what was passed and signed that all Dem candidates everywhere now own it no matter what.

      Delete
    5. Don't think people with whom you disagree are "not that bright."

      Cruz is a Harvard man; Kerry's Yale. I could comfortably condescend to them--I'm CalTech, myself--but to what end? The problem with one of them is not stupidity but ideology. Pick your side and make your case.

      Also, one does, too, sometimes pick fights he cannot win. You just did, for instance. But I also mean that it is sometimes done intelligently, tactically.

      Delete
    6. A little more explicit: Cruz thinks that when the wheels come off ObamaCare, he is poised to say, "I fought it every step of the way."

      That may be good tactics or bad, but it is not obviously bad. At least he is fighting, which a lot of people respect.


      Delete
    7. a6z....fighting is the key. Everybody on the right is sick of being told how the Senate operates and how Washington operates. The voters are just supposed to get over it. A Ted Cruz comes along and ignores the bipartisan political/media class and it makes that class wet themselves uncontrollably. The State friendly AP had a story this am about the two Kings in the House- Steve and Peter and how they represent the split in that body and why some Dems are siding with one of them. "House's 2 Kings personify GOP split".

      Delete
  2. Sadly there's no new continent to discover and civilize. (Oh wait.. I forgot to apologize for that ethnocentric statement!)
    Can a conservative actually be elected?
    Will people really vote for someone who promises them nothing but to let them be free to make their own fortunes and mistakes?
    There are fewer and fewer conservative politicians who can stand against the 'liberal' tide because there are even fewer conservatives in existence.
    The old adage "ain't broke, don't fix" has just been entirely tossed out the window. Instead, a bunch of wannabe social engineer-types have prepended the mantra: "if I think it can be better, then it's broken".
    One of the ludicrous pro-Obamacare defenses I heard was: "Our healthcare system may be good, but it's unlikely to be the best possible solution, therefore we must make changes to get closer to that best possible solution."
    (And then they nod sagely to each other as though that wasn't a fat wad of cockamamie.)
    At some point we have to face facts, our government isn't just a bunch of people who think like globalwarmists, they also *represent* a populace who think like globalwarmists.
    (By that, I mean, accepting null statements such as "we have to do something because nobody seems to have a better explanation that our wild guesses.")

    boy am I terrible at making my point.
    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete
  3. Angelo Codevilla is examining nearly the very same question today, or at least, so it appears to me: Republicans for Obamacare?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do enjoy seeing Angelo's clear thinking at times like these. The country class and the governing class. Or as a first rate blog in England calls it--above the line or below the line.Time to break some furniture.

      Delete
  4. David:

    If Cruz seems "not too bright," two questions come to mind: is he really a dim bulb, or is it in the interest of some institution (Democrat party, legacy (!?) media, Republican old guard) to mount the ad hominem attacks that foster the image you are thinking is dim. To pick fights you will lose would seem to lead to the conclusion you came to, unless: 1) he didn't pick this fight, it picked him, and/or 2) the fight he is mounting is bigger than Obamacare and speaking out against the ACA is just his way of firing the opening salvo in his larger war.

    Cruz has successfully argued several cases before our Supreme Court, a job that is not normally given to people who can't think quickly and clearly. And from an incomplete reading of his oration in the Senate last week, he maintained a coherent and reasoned monologue for a little over 21 hours. That's something neither our President nor the Senate Leader can approach for half an hour, even with a script and teleprompters.

    Yes, Cruz will not convince the Senate to prevail against Obamacare. But he will remind a lot of American voters what they don't like about our government, and he will remind everyone, including the press who refuse to acknowledge or report it, that our President was inexperienced and unprepared for the job he was elected to. And probably still is. Heck, even the NYTimes printed this heresy last week.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Everyone said to defend the Alamo was a mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't know if it's true, but Ollie North said the other day that our navy now has more admirals than ships.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have little doubt Ollie's statement was true. I believe the Department of Agriculture has more employees than there are farmers, too. Maybe you heard the old joke about the Ag Dept employee who comes on a colleague crying. "What's the matter," the first USDA employee asks. "My farmer died," was the reply.

    And yes, James, I was going to say something in my previous post about the Alamo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry if I came off odd on the Alamo deal, my reply below to Adams should illuminate my thoughts. I'd like to here yours.

      Delete
  8. Well, I know Ted Cruz personally, and there is nothing dim about him.The propaganda wing of the Democrat party will try to portray him thus, but a big part of the reason for the filibuster was that it could not be ignored. He got hours of public face time on C-SPAN, and there were even little sound bites that were anything but incoherent. He by-passed the media.There is a big difference in persuading the Supreme Court and persuading the lower fifty per cent of IQ in this country, but if anyone can do both, Ted's your man.

    People like to mention the Alamo here, and their point is well taken. Fewer people know about Sam Houston and the Runaway Scrape, but Texans remember how nearly everyone thought Houston was crazy, until he had safely escorted most of the Anglo population and a substantial portion of the freedom loving Hispanics, as well, over the Sabine River, into safety in the United States, and then turned to San Jacinto. There, a thousand Texas farmers defeated four thousand men of the fourth largest army in the world at that time, thus securing the blessings of Liberty to themselves, and their posterity, including me and mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael Adams:
      The point I'm trying to make with the Alamo is the intangible can not only matter but can be very potent. On a strategic and tactical sense Sam was absolutely correct and Texas would not exist today without those decisions he made. Without Sam's operations it can be fairly said that the Alamo would have been another foolish forgotten military disaster of which history is littered with. It can also be argued that without the Alamo Houston's army and cause would have melted away forever into the western US of that time. I believe you're here in Austin and probably know this has been a topic here since San Jacinto.

      Delete
    2. Honestly hadn't read much about Texas history before.
      Makes sense with the distinctive culture attributed to the state.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    3. And one shouldn't forget that when Santa Anna revoked the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and essentially made himself a dictator, a number of other Mexican states rebelled as well, not just Coahuila-Tejas. At the time, Mexico was torn between two factions, the Centralists (old-style conservative, authoritarian rule from Mexico city) and the Federalists (old-style liberal, favoring a loose coalition of states, modeled on the US.) In some ways, the Texas rebellion was just the final spasm of the Centralist-Federalist dispute. Santa Anna had put down those other rebellions of Federalists with great brutality. After the no-quarter at the Alamo, and the mass execution of the surrendered garrison of the Goliad, the Texans knew very well they were for the chop.
      (I wrote this into the background for one of my novels - Daughter of Texas - trying to teach history by making a ripping good adventure yarn out of it.)
      You know - if Santa Anna had not been a brutal and arrogant fool, he might have quashed the rebellion in Texas very easily, by being merciful; paroling the Alamo and Goliad survivors and expelling them from Texas. It is possible that the Texas revolution might have collapsed, since many of the old-time settlers weren't really keen on it. There was a 'Peace party', looking for accommodation and consideration of their rights under Mexican law. But Santa Anna rode roughshod right over them, and eventually everyone realized it was fight or go under.

      Delete
    4. The little I know about Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, Agustin de Iturbide, and certain other founders of Mexico makes me very thankful that the USA had George Washington!

      Delete
    5. Kepha:
      One of the great stories about Santa Ana was his leg. Amputated after receiving a wound at San Jacinto, Santa Ana had it buried with full military honors. When he was thrown out of power mobs would dig it up and parade it around before throwing it away. When he regained power it was found paraded around reburied with honors. This apparently happened several times and was a reliable indicator of Santa Ana's current political status.

      Delete
  9. G'day Michael,

    To quote Msr. Voltaire, Dieu n’est pas pour les gros bataillons, mais pour ceux qui tirent le mieux" ("God is not on the side of the big battalions, but of the best shots")

    A dictum the Texans obviously adhered to as has the Australian Army since its founding. With a population as small as ours it is a necessity.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "An intelligent man such as Rubio, for example, got pounded into supporting a bizarre immigration reform plan that would serve to create millions of new Democratic voters. "

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think that Rubio "got pounded" into supporting amnesty for invaders - none at all. He has been amnesty's chief pusher, faceman and spokesliar. He wasn't drafted, let alone forceably drafted, he very enthusiastically volunteered. And given that he thought he could get away with such betrayal, he's not very intelligent. He is a despicable little worm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there a way to be drafted but not forcibly drafted?

      Delete
  11. It's gotten more difficult to be a conservative in this country, even if you're not one who is publicly maligned and mocked, such as Palin, Cruz...
    After a while, the constant grinding of the media narrative leaves you doubting your sanity, and wondering whether the fight is worth it, or if you should simply tune in, turn on, and drop out of the productive private sector and join the trough-wallowing public employee unions, whose politicians actually seem to stay bought.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Looks like Celia got stuck in spam, because she appears above David from Oz, but was not there when I read comments this A.M.(Gotta do something to keep awake while I floss)

    To add to her comment, it's also amusing that the O'Connors sided with Santa Anna, and many Mexican families sided with the rebellion.Much of South Texas is now populated by O'Connors, and there's a big RC church in Corpus Christi with windows, baptismal font, everything imaginable, donated by O'Conners, Dunns, Kennedys and other Irish-Texan ranching families. More than one O'Connor has told me that if their ancestors could not steal it, they married it. Many of them "look Mexican," while there are blond, blue-eyed citizens of South Texas with Spanish surnames.

    But, back to the rebellion, the Anglo-Celtic settlers were invited/encouraged into Texas to form a buffer between Comancheria and Mexico. Texas was so far to the north, and populated only by Indians who were here before the Comanche, and seriously menaced by them, and by the Spanish missionaries. Because of this distance, Santa Anna did not understand that the "Anglos" were mostly yeoman farmers, with very few slaves, and didn't have a slave-based economy. (Oh, and serious bad-asses, too, as he would learn.) One of the things he tried to do, to cause economic damage to the Texicans, was to abolish slavery. He could not enforce such a law, and most people would not have been affected, anyway. It was just a measure of his distance from a place he meant to rule, and this distance, as Celia said, was the reason for rebellion in many Mexican states, who thought a true federalism was the only sensible approach. Well, there is a point to this two-headed foot note, and that is that ruling Scotland or Portugal from Brussels is bat-shit crazy.Would-be rulers never learn from the mistakes of other would-be rulers. So, Labour in Britain and Democraps in the US absolutely can not see that the Soviet Union fell because the finitude of human intelligence makes it impossible for one person or group of persons to micromanage the lives and economies of other people.Oh, no, it was just that the Communists were not as smart as we are.This flies in the face of psychology, statistics, and a lot of common sense, but they do keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm retired Navy. The nearest PX/Commissary is 150 miles from me and for 20 plus years we did not make that trip as there were never any savings. Now with all kids gone the wife and I find we can make the trip about once a month and more than pay for the gas just on savings realized at the commissary. I invite you to visit any military town and especially the PX/commissary. Try and time the visit around payday. The admiral comment is very correct. My Navy is top heavy!
    signed...a Texan

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, there are a lot of Texans here! Somebody better keep a sharp eye out for Gunnery Sergeant Hartman!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I do not see an e-mail button here, but, Dip, could you please give my e-mail to James. I am sure we need to talk.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Michael Adams:
    It's jhankey2@gmail.com, look forward to hearing from you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The government is closed. We're all going to die.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The government is closed.
    Who will spy on me now?
    I feel strangely alone...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Favorite new blog to read. Keep up the great work!

    Conservatives have abandoned these institutions- government, media, academia etc.- in hopes they would be left alone, which reflects their worldview. But it has not worked out that way. These institutions need to be reformed, to the extent they can, and dismantled as you suggest to prevent them from being overtaken.

    ReplyDelete