One of the things that made William F. Buckley, Jr. so much fun to read in the days before National Review became a house organ for Republican propaganda was that Buckley and others in his large and fun-loving orbit took such obvious, unrestrained delight in poking fun at liberal icons without the phony sentimentalism and sham decorum that prevented most writers from saying anything that would cause more respectable establishment commentators to say "Tsk tsk." When Eleanor Roosevelt died, for example, Buckley wrote in his syndicated column: "Following Mrs. Roosevelt in search of an irrationality was like following a lighted fuse in search of an explosion." One never had to wait very long.
It has been said that the most effective way to conquer a man is to capture his mind. There is no slave more devoted, no disciple more dedicated than one who has become completely obsessed with the vision of what he considers to be a great idea. (1)
The headline atop the front page of my hometown newspaper announced on Friday, the day after Veterans Day, that federal funds for home-heating assistance have been cut in half. Not exactly heartwarming news in northern New England in mid-November. Meanwhile, half a world away, a story in the Kabul Press gives the calculation of how much it is costing NATO forces and their taxpayers back home to kill Taliban in Afghanistan. It comes to — brace yourselves, now — $50 million per dead Taliban.
The midterm elections on November 2 have pulled America back from the brink of socialism. That doesn’t mean that we have gotten rid of all of the socialist federal and state programs that have been turning America into a super nanny state. It simply means that Americans were not willing to ride over the cliff into the abyss of totalitarian government which regulates every aspect of our lives. It will give lovers of liberty two years in which to educate the American people about the dangers of totalitarianism.
Some eternal verities have outlived their usefulness. Okay that's a contradiction, which I cheerfully acknowledge. To be more accurate, some things that seem eternally true never were, and that becomes clear over time. One such truth is that, whatever one thinks about the wisdom of either starting or entering a war, once that decision is made the patriot's duty is to "support the troops," which is translated by the hawks to mean, of course, to support the mission. We must support what the troops are doing. Or, if we can't do that, we certainly have the duty to exercise the one provision of the Bill of Rights — other than the right to keep and bear arms — that Bill "of Wrongs" O'Reilly of Fox News fame reveres and insists on: your right to remain silent. Otherwise you are undermining the war effort, giving aid and comfort to the enemy and thereby committing sedition and possibly treason.
In just the way some voters believed that Obama’s 2008 ascendancy heralded a new era of hope-and-change leftist hegemony, it’s easy to view the November 2 elections as the beginning of an unstoppable tidal wave of Tea Party triumph. But while I can get caught up in moments just like anyone else — I awoke bug-eyed after staying up freakishly late watching election returns — I always bear in mind that politics is but a series of moments and that, in reality, it’s only in places such as England that tea time is a permanent fixture.
Imagine you pull into your drive after work to find the beagle from next door dying on your lawn, victim of a hit-and-run. You climb out of your car only to have the neighbor jump you and jam a gun in your ear. “Admit you killed Snoopy,” he screams, “or I’ll shoot!”Who can resist persuasion like that? You prudently “confess,” but any rational person dismisses what you say under such duress.
In all the excitement created by the rescue of the Chilean miners, which has been called a miracle, very little recognition has been given to the American companies and individuals who were involved in the entire undertaking from the very beginning, and without which there would have been no rescue. Who were they? According to an e-mail sent to me by my good friend Edward Wagner, a Republican activist in Massachusetts, here are the facts.
Results of the recent elections showed that growing numbers of Americans are fed up with "public servants" who act as if they are public masters. This went beyond the usual objections to particular policies. It was the fact that policies were crammed down our throats, whether we liked them or not. In fact, laws were passed so fast that nobody had time to read them.
I am not inclined to rush to the library or bookstore to find and read the latest bestseller or new release, like Deciding Points by former President George W. Bush. I like the old bestsellers and even an occasional old worstseller. Yesterday was the date on which, 50 years ago, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts was elected President of the United States. So I picked up off the living room floor a copy of Theodore H. White's bestseller of 1961, The Making of the President, 1960.