Friday, 08 October 2010

The Illusion of Rightward Movement

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In this time of Tea Parties and tanking Democrat poll numbers, people are, depending on their point of view, hailing or howling about an apparent conservative groundswell. More traditional folks anxiously anticipate a GOP landslide in November, while many liberals warn of the perils of our current rightward shift.

What are they concerned about? I’m not sure. I wasn’t aware that the federal Department of Education had been eliminated, the income tax repealed and IRS abolished, Roe v. Wade overturned, hate-crime laws rescinded, and the NEA and public broadcasting defunded. I also haven’t heard about a huge influx of traditionalists into academia, the media, and Hollywood and a robust upswing in church attendance among the young. Perhaps I’m out of the loop.

Of course, I do understand that when people talk about a conservative resurgence, they speak of the electorate’s mood. Yet, even if there is in some quarters a newfound awareness of the dangers of metastasizing government and constitutional trespass, there is a gulf between mood and action. And no matter what the prospects for Election Day, as the song says, it “don’t mean nothin’ till you sign it on the dotted line.”

First, even under a best-case scenario, the Republicans taking the oath in January will not have a veto-proof majority; this means they won’t be able to repeal any of Barack Obama’s legislation. Moreover, if the RINOS among them get seduced by Lady Compromise, some more statism (albeit watered down) could be visited upon us. Thus, the best we can hope for is a GOP holding action — which, admittedly, is vastly preferable to being stimulated into socialism.

Many are aware of this, of course, and consider November merely the first step in a new conservative revolution. But while this sounds good, history and social trends tell a different tale. You see, the problem is that conservatism has always been but a holding action. And usually conservatives hold on to power just long enough for people to become inured to the last liberal Congress’ changes and ready for the next liberal Congress’ changes.

Think about it: When in modern times has there ever been a sustained movement toward the Right? Even the vaunted Reagan Revolution was really just the Reagan Defense; decades of liberal legislative triumphs remained intact while the culture continued the leftward greased-skids slide.

Thus, every year more laws — which, by definition, are removals of freedom — are enacted, the cost of government increases and its yoke becomes weightier, and the culture becomes more decadent.

And part of the blame for this lies with conservatives. The reason why a communist in the Soviet Union and a McCarthyist in the United States in 1952 could both be called a “conservative” is that the only consistent definition of the term involves the desire to maintain the status quo. Yet, not only isn’t this synonymous with defending Truth, it doesn’t even amount to preserving tradition (which can reflect Truth). The reality is that at any given time conservatives are simply defending liberals’ decades-old triumphs, as today’s status quo was born of yesterday’s leftist mo’.

This is because liberals are far closer to an irresistible force than conservatives are to an immovable object. In a relativistic, compromise-crazy society especially, the side that agitates for change always drives the agenda. Here’s how it works: Liberals come to the bargaining table demanding a certain change (note: hope optional). Many conservatives, figuring that a decent, reasonable person compromises, will, after the requisite haggling, then give them a measure of what they want. Oh, it could half, a quarter or even just five percent, but the percentage doesn’t matter. This is because the liberals, like Arne, will be back. In the not-too-distant future they’ll lobby for the same change again — and they’ll be given another slice of their agenda. And after this process continues for a while, they soon have the whole loaf. I call this compromising our way to tyranny.

Really, though, it is no compromise at all. It’s as if the barbarians invade Traditionland and, to appease them, the defenders give them 10 percent of their territory. Then the hordes come back, as menacing as ever, say they’ll only be happy if they’re given another tenth and again achieve satisfaction. Ultimately, this compulsive capitulation only guarantees the loss of your nation. With compromise like that, who needs conquest?

Yet whatever the changes du jour may be in the political arena — civil unions, hate-crime laws, etc. — the ill wind beneath their wings is cultural shift, as the political merely reflects the cultural. And this is where conservatives are particularly remiss; in fact, many, especially the fiscal variety, see no link at all between moral habits and government policy. But as I recently wrote:

Did you ever observe what groups vote for whom and wonder why? Churchgoing Christians cast ballots overwhelmingly for traditionalist candidates, while atheists and agnostics support leftists by wide margins. In fact, consider this: Virtually every group involved in something those Neanderthal Christians call sinful or misguided votes for leftists. Goths? Check. Homosexuals? Check. Wiccans? Check. People peppered with tattoos and body piercings? Check. You don't find many vampirists, cross-dressers, or S&M types at Tea Party rallies.… And what can you predict about America's political future based on the fact that an increasing number of people are embracing these "non-traditional" behaviors and beliefs?

Hint: The answer ain’t rightward shift.

Why do such groups vote for leftists? Well, simply put, how can we expect vice-ridden people to vote for virtuous government?  People who have lived an “If it feels good, do it” lifestyle, governed by their emotions, are easy prey for a demagogue adept at manipulating emotion. To provide just two examples, play upon their greed and envy with the class-warfare card or cater to their desire to justify their sins by preaching against “judgmentalism,” and you can lead the vice-ridden by the nose. This is why seizing control of the culture — most particularly academia, the media, and entertainment — is imperative if our nation is ever to experience a true “rightward shift,” otherwise known as movement toward virtue.  

I realize that this piece is more Mourning for America than Morning in America. But pep talks don’t set us free — the Truth does.  So while we shouldn’t become discouraged, we should be prepared for the enormity of the task before us. To preserve America, it won’t suffice to oust Barack Obama and his statist allies from office, for to fundamentally change our government we must fundamentally change ourselves. This means dispensing with moral relativism — our time’s characteristic spiritual fault — and returning to God, to Truth. It means putting aside the childish desire to have absolution without repentance, discussing honestly what is “good” and putting it into action. Barring this, the only thing that will ever change about government’s growth, tradition’s rending and the West’s decline is the rate. 

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