Category Archives: Culture

Thinking About the Unthinkable – Disunion

Then one must contemplate that perhaps Disunion is preferable to Civil War. An amicable divorce might be preferable to the inevitable civil strife. Is it feasible? Can American liberals and American conservatives imitate Czechs and Slovaks?

It is commonly accepted wisdom that the United States fought a Civil War to end slavery. While true, the need to remove that stain from the fabric of American society was not Lincoln’s primary motivation for prosecuting the war. It was instead his unshakable belief in the absolute necessity of preserving the Union, for by ‘giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free…We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.’ Lincoln surely believed that the dissolution of the Union would sentence the people of the United States, indeed most of humanity, to a future of poverty, enslavement and degradation.

There were several notable separatist efforts early in US history. But since the defeat of the Confederacy, no serious movement to sunder the Union has arisen. The country has been blessed with a century and a half of unity, prosperity and freedom – during which time it came to lead mankind toward those goals, by its example and by force of arms when freedom was threatened by tyrants and totalitarian regimes.

However, in that same period – especially in the latter two thirds of it – the US has undergone a fundamental transformation (if I might channel the phrase used by the latest engine of that change). Until roughly the dawn of the twentieth century, virtually all of the (free) American people were content that the principles upon which the nation was founded were sound, essential to the character of the society and worthy of continuation as the governing ideals of the country. But at that dawn, the nascent progressive movement began a century-long effort to radically alter the country’s political and cultural axioms.

The nature of the transformation has been described countless times by numerous authors. Suffice it to say that: the ultimate ideal of individual liberty has been superseded by the quest for equality and fairness; the reliance on free markets, democratic capitalism and entrepreneurial endeavors has been supplanted by an entitlement mentality and government control of business; American exceptionalism – the idea that the US has a special role to play in spreading the blessings of liberty around the world – has been jettisoned in favor of a multilateral approach to foreign affairs; and the notions of limited government, consent of the governed and constitutional federalism have given way to a mighty behemoth, i.e., the federal government, which dominates the lives of its citizens. This transformation, which took a century to bring about, was accomplished primarily via the progressive movement taking nearly complete control of the opinion-molding organs of American society: the media, universities, legal profession, libraries, seminaries, foundations, educational establishment, etc.

The miracle is that any resistance to the progressive putsch manages to survive. Truth be told, much of traditional America has been asleep at the switch for nearly a century. On the one hand, conservatives thought that perhaps some of the progressives’ explicitly stated objectives might conceivably smooth out a few of the rough edges that were natural consequences of America’s traditional rugged individualism – so conservatives acquiesced in their implementation. On the other hand, conservatives completely failed to appreciate how deeply and broadly the progressive initiatives were undermining traditional American mores, economics and politics. But there are signs that a substantial proportion of (what remains of) traditional America has finally awakened to the realities of the progressive onslaught. Moreover, that group of discontented conservatives is determined to stop the onslaught and restore the country that has been yanked away from them.

And so the nation finds itself sharply divided. With the advent of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid assault, the goals and methods of the progressive camp came into sharp focus. Many American conservatives are saying: no more compromise, no more blindness. It’s time to return America to its traditional moorings. But perhaps an equal number are satisfied with the progressive trajectory and have no desire to reverse course. Thus in the last few years, the nature of the sharp differences between the two sides has come into clear focus. As a consequence, the signs of disunity abound:

  • Washington is thoroughly dysfunctional as the two sides can find no common ground upon which to govern.
  • The current presidential campaign is marked by vitriol, hatred and a total lack of empathy as each side attributes lethal motivation to the other.
  • Thus our government – and thereby, our people – cannot come to grips with our problems – or even agree on what they are.
  • Supreme Court judgments are viewed as illegitimate.
  • There is a near universal dissatisfaction with standard politics, giving rise to non-standard movements, like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
  • Each side blames the other for perceived signs of the decline of America.
  • The nation is on a crash course toward disaster as entitlements, the debt and deficits spiral out of control.
  • The culture is marked by moral squalor more than by wholesome morality.

What’s to be done? The current situation is unsustainable. One of two things must happen: Either one side or the other will win the argument – the losing side will accept defeat and agree to live peacefully in a nation governed according to the precepts of its rival. Or not! That is, the stalemate will persist, grow more intense and result in a calamity for the nation – the exact nature of which is almost impossible to predict.

How might one side win? One can envision two scenarios – of totally different natures. First, the Left might triumph through demographics. The organs described earlier have been doing an effective job of brainwashing the body politic. That might continue and accelerate. Furthermore, the Left’s favorite constituents – e.g., women, minorities, immigrants and, alas, the poor are growing faster than those groups who gravitate to the Right. (It’s true that the Leftists are having fewer babies and killing more in utero than the Rightists are – but that effect is overshadowed by the rapid growth of the Leftist constituencies.) Thus the current 50-50 split in the nation might become 2-1, or even 3-1 for the Left, and the Right will be silenced.

How might the Right win? I can only envision one way. A very serious spiritual/moral/religious revival sweeps the country, blowing away the secular, dependency-driven milieu that nurtures Leftist ideology. It’s a big stretch to imagine, but not totally beyond the realm of possibility.

But maybe neither of these eventualities occurs. Then one must contemplate that perhaps Disunion is preferable to Civil War. It’s a horrible thought, terrifying to contemplate. But if the country remains roughly evenly divided between two fundamentally different and irreconcilable visions for its future, then it is hard to believe that the unity and cohesion, civil calm and common sense of purpose, and faith in a shared destiny that has characterized American society for so long will endure. An amicable divorce might be preferable to the inevitable civil strife. Is it feasible? Can American liberals and American conservatives imitate Czechs and Slovaks?

Probably not! The reasons are legion and could fill a book. They range from legal to geographical to financial to the allocation of resources. In short, no matter how desirable it might become, it is impossible to imagine a peaceful division of these United States according to the dual philosophies that divide its citizens.

So, either the Left wins; or the Right wins; or an endless, fraternal, yet internecine, struggle saps the vitality of the US and leaves it adrift, with diminished stature, unexceptional, no longer dynamic, prosperous, patriotic or free. Ronald Reagan said that: ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.’ God forbid that this is the generation whose advent Reagan feared.

This article also appeared in The Intellectual Conserative at:

Why Isn’t Romney Slaughtering Obama?

By any objective standard, Barack Obama’s presidency must be judged a failure. It is undeniable that the hope for positive change that he inspired – however nebulous the meaning – has not been fulfilled. Obama promised the American people that he would deliver: (i) a more prosperous future, (ii) a more transparent government, (iii) a country that would be respected worldwide, (iv) a more equitable society and (v) a more united body politic. Not only has he failed to deliver on any of those five promises, but the case is easily made that he has moved the needle in the opposite direction in every one of those areas.

No rightist, and nary a centrist would disagree with the previous assessment. Even the leftists are unhappy with their savior. Numerous critical articles have appeared in leftist journals such as the New York Times and the Huffington Post – although, most of these chastise the President for not governing sufficiently far to the left. (A good example is an article by Jonathan Chait in the September 2, 2011 NYT entitled ‘What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama.’) Given the universally negative opinion of Obama’s achievements, why isn’t Romney clobbering him in the polls? One would expect that virtually any minimally respectable Republican candidate could cruise to victory in November.

Before providing the answer, here is a litany – arranged in parallel to the five points above – of Obama’s primary failures, which are not open to dispute:

(i)      Obama’s Keynesian economic policies have forestalled the robust economic recovery that normally follows a steep recession. Instead, his profligate tax, spend and borrow policies have led to massive deficits, crushing debt, bloated and inefficient government, sustained high unemployment, financial uncertainty and a diminished standard of living.

(ii)    Obama’s ‘Chicago-style’ of governing is characterized by the ramming through of major legislative measures (Obamacare and Dodd-Franks) without widespread citizen assent, a bigoted Justice Department, recess appointments when Congress is not in recess, executive orders that violate legislative intent and the bottling up of America’s energy resources under insurmountable red tape.

(iii)   Obama pursues a warped and cowardly foreign policy that subverts US allies (like Israel, Poland and England) while rewarding its enemies (too numerous to list). It encompasses a dangerous drawdown of the country’s military assets. The result has not been increased respect or affection for the US around the globe, but rather contempt and disregard. Why should any country respect the US when its president bows to dictators and denies that his country plays or has played an exceptional role in world history?

(iv)   Obama’s attempt to redistribute wealth has been partially ‘successful.’ His demonization of the wealthy and entrepreneurial has terrified business, restricted investment and stunted economic growth; but it has succeeded in increasing the number of Americans on food stamps.

(v)    Perhaps his greatest failure is his inability or unwillingness to function as the post-partisan, post-racial unifier that he promised to be. The country took justifiable pride in electing a black president, viewing his election as an atonement for the racial injustices in its past. Rather than embracing the role, Obama has squandered the opportunity by pitting rich against poor, business against consumers, citizens against illegal immigrants, religious against secular, and even whites against minorities on occasion. His disgusting campaign against Romney-Ryan is more indicative of a gangland thug than an inspirational national leader.

The harsh assessment above is certainly shared by a great many Americans. Why, then, is Mitt Romney not running away with the election? The answer can be provided in a rather broad stroke, which is sharpened by two very specific components of that stroke. First, Obama is, unfortunately, deeply representative of the political/cultural trajectory of the country over the last hundred years. The century-long onslaught by progressives on American society has been recounted by numerous authors. In a nutshell, progressives believe that the founding principles of the United States – as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – were wrong and that America could be converted, according to them, into a more just, humane, equitable and fairer society if it adjusted its principles to more closely match those of John Dewey, Herbert Croly, Woodrow Wilson and even Karl Marx. Over the course of a hundred years, the people of the United States – either consciously or subconsciously – have come to accept to a shocking degree the legitimacy of that view.

Well, Obama is the fulfillment of that vision. Romney, and especially Ryan represent a return to the ideals of the Founders. In fact, given the apparent success of the progressive revolution, it is perhaps remarkable that Romney is even competitive with Obama. The fact that he is competitive illustrates that the progressive victory is not yet complete. Actually, only 20% of the country openly professes allegiance to the progressive program. The remaining 80% are split roughly evenly between those who would prefer to cling to the Founders’ ideals and those who are either apathetic or confused. Unfortunately, the latter group tends to overwhelmingly support the leftist cause. This is so because of two special features of today’s progressive milieu that have rendered the flaming incompetent Obama as at least an even bet to retain his crown. They are Media bias and Public School brainwashing.

It is well-known that virtually all of the opinion-molding organs of American society are firmly in the hands of the leftists. These include: the media, public schools, academia, legal profession, foundations, seminaries, libraries and, sadly, many major corporations. Therefore, unless an individual is an exceptionally original thinker or is exposed to a countervailing inoculation (e.g., by reading the Wall Street Journal or The Washington Times, watching Fox News, subscribing to the Heritage Foundation or attending Hillsdale or Grove City College), his mindset is inevitably shaped to be part of the liberal consensus. And the two venues that are most influential in this regard are the media and the government-controlled public schools. If these two components were magically removed from the progressive control board, then what remains – if it even could survive without these fundamental components – would likely not be enough to control the national conversation as it currently does. But today – and for the last 30-50 years – the children of America are subject to a relentless barrage of left-wing propaganda that is strongly reinforced by what their parents see and read on TV, in the movies and in the newspaper.

The pernicious efforts of the mainstream media and the education establishment have rendered at least a quarter of the population into mindless robots who serve the progressive cause. Nothing is going on in their heads. Therefore, the robots will favor Obama – despite his manifest failures and despite the fact that their support runs counter to their own self interest. Added to the 20% hardcore liberal population, one obtains Obama’s 45% approval rating.
Thus the election is neck and neck. But here’s a thought. Maybe it’s not. All the polls seem stuck on a roughly 45-45 split. That leaves 10% undecided. Now, historically, undecideds break nearly unanimously against the incumbent. Hopefully, Obama’s vile campaign against Romney will ensure that the historical precedent is maintained. Thus, it really is 55-45 for Romney, which would match the 10 point spread between Reagan and Carter in 1980. So maybe a slaughter is in the offing after all. One can only hope.
This article also appeared in The Intellectual Conseervative at:

Does John Roberts’ Capitulation Spell Doom for the US?

Anyone who engages in a competitive sport has experienced the moment when, even though the outcome of the match or game is theoretically still in doubt, the participants know absolutely who shall prevail. To look in your opponent’s eye and to see that he believes he cannot win brings an exhilarating satisfaction. By the same token, to see in your opponent’s visage the certainty that he will triumph is deflating beyond measure. Perhaps the most famous incident of such a moment in sport occurred in 1964 when, at the end of the sixth round, Sonny Liston peered across the ring at Cassius Clay and knew that his goose was cooked; so he dreamt up a phantom shoulder injury and conceded defeat.

Something similar often happens in the lifetime of a nation or a regime. The nation, or its present government, might appear to be sailing along smoothly, even successfully. But anyone paying attention realizes – generally because of one or more signature events that have happened recently, and because of the peoples’ and the government’s reaction to said events – that the regime (or nation) will not survive. The exact nature of the death scene might not be apparent, nor its timing; but its inevitability is assured and even those who recognize its imminence are powerless to prevent it.

A classic example is the Suez crisis of 1956, following which it was absolutely obvious that Great Britain’s three and a half century role as one of the paramount powers on the globe had come to an end. The nation did not disappear, but England had sunk to the level of a second rate power whose influence in the world was a mere shadow of its former scope. The monarchy continued, the Commonwealth limped along, England retained its permanent seat on the Security Council; but the entire world recognized that Britannia no longer ruled the waves, nor would it ever again.

At the opposite end of England’s reign one finds a moment when its predecessor surrendered the throne – i.e., the defeat of the Spanish Armada by Queen Elizabeth I’s forces in 1588, which marked the end of Spain’s century-long stretch as the world’s pre-eminent power. The Spanish ‘Empire’ lasted until the Treaties of Utrecht in 1713, or perhaps until Napoleon beat them up badly in the early 1800s, or maybe even until the US provided the final coup de grâce 90 years later. But three hundred years before San Juan Hill, Spain’s status as the major world power came to an end, and all knew it.

On the other hand, sometimes when the epiphanous moment occurs, it is not acknowledged, or if it is, its consequences are denied – making for an even more calamitous collapse in the long run. Two examples of the former are Nazi Germany immediately after the assault on Stalingrad stalled and Imperial Japan after the battle of Midway. Regarding the former, certainly many on Hitler’s staff – especially after America entered the fray – foresaw that the tide of the war would change. Some might have favored seeking a negotiated settlement with the Allied powers. But Hitler was blind to the tea leaves, and his was the only opinion that mattered. Had he entered negotiations for an armistice at that point, he might have salvaged some sort of regime – and millions of lives would have been spared. But he failed to recognize the inevitable.

Regarding Japan, in spite of having all the tactical advantages, the Japanese Navy was defeated at Midway, a mere six months after Pearl Harbor. Admiral Yamamoto – who is reputed to have seen the future accurately even as he planned the attack on Pearl Harbor – was in a distinct minority. Overall, Imperial Japanese militants failed to recognize that their war effort was doomed.

Two examples of the latter – i.e., where recognition occurs, but is ignored – are Lee after Gettysburg and Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both saw the handwriting on the wall — one of them literally. But Lee was unable or unwilling to try to convince his superiors to sue for peace. And although Gorbachev clearly saw that he was playing a losing hand, he fooled himself about the coming total collapse of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Unlike the German military staff or Yamamoto, neither of whom was in a position to change the history that they saw unfolding, both Lee and Gorbachev might have been in such a position.

A common thread in virtually all these scenarios is the presence of war. Indeed, the decisive moment in the death of a nation or a regime is often marked by a military event. But not always. The Brits were actually victorious in the brief 1956 Suez skirmish – admittedly against a vastly inferior foe. It was in the aftermath, in which Eisenhower unceremoniously and unconditionally ordered the English to withdraw, that it became clear that Great Britain – despite its former military élan – was now a zephyr compared to the US and no longer controlled its own fate.

Here are three more such existential moments that did not involve war at the defining instant:

  • When de Klerk freed Nelson Mandela, it was completely clear that the days of the apartheid regime in South Africa were numbered.
  • A hundred years ago, Argentina was poised to rival the US as an emerging entrepreneurial society. But then they fell off the track by experimenting with collectivist policies. The US left them in the dust. Then when they elected Juan Peron, the Argentineans sealed their fate as a statist and corrupt society.
  • It is hard to pinpoint a single event in the last 70 years that heralded the fall of Europe. But after 40 years of self-flagellation for the horrors that they inflicted upon themselves in two world wars, at some point in the last 30 years it became clear that Europe had totally lost faith in its culture, its heritage and its religion. (After all, another word for Europe for centuries was ‘Christendom.’) As the institutionalization of the European Union progressed, it became evident that the Europeans were basically committing political and cultural suicide.

Has the US just witnessed a defining moment? Does the betrayal of the conservative cause by Chief Justice John Roberts – a distinctly non-military event – qualify as such a moment for the US? Certainly some of the conservative pundits think so. And yet the right wing ether is full of hopeful articles about the ‘clever, ulterior’ motives of the Chief Justice and how in the end his ruling will redound to the advantage of the conservative cause. But anyone with his head screwed on straight recognizes that Roberts was intimidated by Obama and the mainstream media, and that he represents yet another in a long line of supposedly conservative Supreme Court justices who have defected to the liberal enemy. Moreover, this monumental surrender is indicative of a loss of faith – both by the people and by so-called conservative leaders – in the nation’s ability to reverse a century long slide into Euro-socialism.

Have we indeed passed the tipping point? It is not unreasonable to survey the wreckage inflicted on the nation since Reagan by progressives (Clinton, Obama) and faux conservatives (both Bushes), and thereby conclude that the Constitutional Republic known as America is doomed, and perhaps has already expired. Our economy is at best in a state of permanent semi-stagnation; our military capabilities are in sharp decline; the progressives control virtually all of the opinion-molding organs of society, which they use to brainwash the people; the federal debt is a major calamity that will wreak havoc very soon; our culture is saturated with pornography, drugs and violence, multiculturalism and secularism; we sit on the world’s greatest energy resources and we refuse to tap it; the federal behemoth consumes a fatal proportion of our GDP and regulates the minutiae of our lives; and worst of all, more than half the population is either oblivious to or favors these developments as evidenced by the, at least, 50-50 chance that it will compound the astounding error of 2008 and re-elect the only anti-American president in the nation’s 236-year history.

One could, on the other hand, claim that the preceding argument is excessively pessimistic. After all, our nation has experienced times of greater stress and weakness than the present: the Civil War, the Depression, the 60s and 70s when society seemed to be unraveling before our eyes. Moreover, as a stock broker said to me in 2010: ‘The market factored in Social Security; the market factored in Medicare; the market will factor in Obamacare.’ And perhaps he is right as clearly the market’s reaction to Roberts’ treachery has been mainly a yawn.

But perhaps the market’s yawn is not one of a large, successful and complex society simply digesting an alien body; but rather that of an organism meekly accepting the inevitability of its transformation under the influence of that foreign body.

I was extremely depressed by Roberts’ betrayal. But I tend to be a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of guy. For once, I am hoping that the glass is still half full.
This article also appeared in The Land of the Free at:

Which is More Dangerous: Obama’s Head or Obama’s Heart?

Two of the more fascinating reads published recently are Mark Levin’s Ameritopia and Dennis Prager’s Still the Best Hope. Both provide penetrating analysis on why a century of progressivism has propelled the USA to the brink of a national catastrophe. And both offer a compelling vision of a return to bedrock conservatism as the only and obvious solution to the economic and cultural calamities that barely checked liberalism has bestowed upon the nation. Each author writes with great passion, as exemplified in the following typical excerpts:

Levin. America today is not strictly a constitutional republic because the Constitution has been and continues to be easily altered by a judicial oligarchy that mostly enforces, if not expands, federal power. It is not strictly a representative republic, because so many edicts are produced by a maze of administrative departments that are unknown to the public and detached from its sentiment. It is not strictly a federal republic, because the states that gave the central government life now live at its behest. America is becoming, and in significant ways has become, a post-constitutional, democratic utopia of sorts. It exists behind a Potemkin-like image of constitutional republicanism. Its essential elements and unique features are being ingurgitated by an insatiable federal government that seeks to usurp and displace the civil society.

The Founders would be appalled at the nature of the federal government’s transmutation and the squandering of the American legacy. The federal government has become the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. Its size and reach are vast. Its interventions are illimitable.

Prager. This book delineates with scores of examples the toxic impact Left-wing thought and actions have had on civilization. From the far Left – with its virtually unparalleled mass murders and totalitarianism – to the democratic Left, nearly every area of life that the Left has influenced has been adversely affected. The culture has been debased, from the fine arts with their scatological exhibits and contempt for beauty and excellence, to the popular culture’s nearly omnipresent vulgarity. Education has been corrupted, with students learning less and propagandized more. Economies have been wrecked by the irresponsible accumulation of debt, almost entirely a result of government expansion and entitlement programs. Masculinity and femininity have been rendered archaic concepts. The will to fight evil has been almost eradicated in the Western world outside the United States. The moral character of great numbers of people has been negatively affected … [by] the effects of the welfare state on the character of citizens. And in the United States the Left has marshaled its influence in schools and universities, labor unions, news media, entertainment media, and the arts to undermine the bases of Americanism – liberty, small government, God-based ethics, and E Pluribus Unum.

The authors’ passionate arguments lead them to very similar conclusions. However, there is a major difference in the approaches of the two works. Levin emphasizes the flawed political and economic theories that animate the progressive agenda. He explains how four fundamentally utopian fantasies (Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto) have provided the political playbook from which liberals over the last century have drawn their inspiration and hatched their strategies. Prager, on the other hand, attributes much of the motivation for liberal initiatives to a reaction to the innate feelings that progressives have about the issues that confront the nation. Rather than follow a specific blueprint for ‘hope and change,’ progressives are inclined, according to Prager, to follow their feelings about how things should be, why they are not and how to bring them about.

Of course, whether they heed their head or their heart, liberals advance their progressive agenda in the face of overwhelming evidence that their statism results in: high unemployment, decreased productivity, diminished freedom, cultural decay, inadequate defense capabilities, entrenched poverty, and the erosion of family, community and the pillars of civil society. Now the most important progressive operating in the US today is President Obama. Any self-respecting conservative – and one would hope, any objective American who is not hypnotized by leftist propaganda – is appalled at the economic and cultural carnage thrust upon the country by the Obama administration. His removal from office is mandatory if the country is to be rescued from the pit toward which he is driving us with reckless abandon. Therefore, to maximize the chances of that eventuality, it would be helpful to know exactly what motivates the President – his head or his heart?

Levin and Prager are in apparent agreement that the progressive portion of America comes in two flavors – intellectuals and, for lack of a better term, ordinary foot soldiers. The former consists of professors, lawyers, school administrators, Hollywood glitterati, liberal think tank leaders, librarians, journalists, most media types, certain philanthropists, many clergy and even some corporate moguls. These are people who are true believers in Levin’s four utopian (actually dystopian) fantasies; people who are convinced that America’s founding was based on flawed principles, and that the country must be remodeled according to a more progressive image. The insidious nature of their venture is that they pursue their revolutionary goals using the language and tools of the Founding (the Constitution, the invocation of freedom, appeals to rights), but at every turn, they subvert founding principles to serve their revolutionary purpose. The danger they pose to the Republic springs from the transformational plans in their heads.

Progressives who lead with their heart, on the other hand, tend to be “ordinary” Americans – government employees, union laborers, school teachers and secretaries, cops and cab drivers, farmers, firemen and factory workers – who feel  that rich people have too much and more of their wealth should be spread around. They’ve never read Levin’s four utopian fantasies and rarely, if ever, think about the philosophical characteristics of progressivism or conservatism. Throughout their entire life, they have been subjected to a progressive programming (really a brainwashing) carried out by their teachers, public officials, union leaders, media sources, liberal clergy and even their parents. They are clueless as to the radical alteration that American society has already undergone. What they do know is: they are uncomfortable with perceived inequities in American society; the government has had success in the past at alleviating the discrepancies; but much more needs to be done in that vein. They have been told, and they believe that America’s economic system, i.e., free market capitalism, while it offers the opportunity for a few to amass great wealth, keeps most citizens – like themselves – in a perpetual state of stress trying to meet monthly bills, perform satisfactorily on the job, provide adequate sustenance for one’s family and find some time to enjoy life.

Moreover, such thinking infects the substantial portion of the population that does not consider itself progressive. As Prager relates, the pervasive liberal brainwashing to which all of America is subject explains how, despite the fact that only 20% of the people self-identify as liberal – whereas 40% self-identify as conservative, and another 40% as moderate – a hardcore, unabashed liberal like Barack Obama could be elected President.

Obama is clearly from the intellectual class, not a foot soldier. So the answer to the question posed in the title is presumably that his head is more dangerous than his heart. Ah, but here is a point that is mentioned, but not emphasized in both books. Namely, the heart of an intellectual progressive is every bit as devoted to the progressive cause as is his head. Progressives are absolutely convinced of the correctness of their philosophy and the justice of their cause. Therefore, the legitimacy and necessity of the remake of society that they seek to engineer – and at which they have been remarkably successful – is so deeply ingrained in the fiber of their being that it is inevitable that their feelings about the cause are as strong, if not stronger, than they are among the foot soldiers. In principle, one can argue with and try to persuade a progressive of the error of his philosophy if his motivation is solely intellectual. But if the impetus is internalized and abetted by powerful feelings, then – as anyone who has tried knows – arguing with a progressive is a futile exercise.

So a final word to conservatives. When criticizing Obama, it is pointless to attack his feelings, preferences or motivations. The feelings are ingrained and will not change. Moreover, attacks on his personality or character are likely to be a turn off for “moderate” or undecided voters. Instead, it is Obama’s progressive philosophy that should be squarely in the cross hairs. At this point, at least half the voting public recognizes progressive policies for the disaster they represent. Conservatives only need to convince a few more undecided voters of the danger posed by Obama’s head – and his heart – should he gain a second term. By attacking progressive principles, and by providing beneficial conservative alternatives, Mitt and the GOP should be able to chase Obama from the White House without breaking a sweat.
This article — without the quotes from Levin and Prager — appeared in The American Thinker at:
 and in The Land of the Free at:

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

Marriage, as it was traditionally understood, constituted the healthiest, safest and most natural way for the human race to procreate, survive and prosper.

For more than four millennia, marriage has been understood as a sacred union of one man and one woman – virtually everywhere in the world, in almost all societies. The family that resulted was viewed as the fundamental unit of society, whose main purpose was to create an environment in which children could be conceived, nurtured and raised to succeed their elders as adult members of society. The arrangement was rarely, if ever, questioned. Marriage, as it was traditionally understood, constituted the healthiest, safest and most natural way for the human race to procreate, survive and prosper.

This is not to say that the phenomenon of homosexuality has not existed since the dawn of humanity. While celebrated in some ancient cultures, it was more commonly viewed as an aberration. The homosexual act was labeled an abomination in biblical times; those who perpetrated such acts were viewed with pity, sometimes scorn. The idea that a homosexual couple could provide a nurturing home for children did not arise.

In more recent times, homosexuality has been considered more an abnormality than a sin, unnatural rather than criminal, sometimes as an illness. But in the more enlightened era in which we find ourselves now, it is treated as an “alternate lifestyle,” well within the bounds of normality. Maltreatment of homosexuals is considered to be as loathsome as mistreatment of women, minorities, disabled persons, religious people or senior citizens. Moreover, having arrived at this progressive viewpoint, it follows that there is absolutely no reason not to allow – even to encourage – homosexual marriage and the parenting of children by same sex couples. The common wisdom of four thousand years has been deemed WRONG.

But gay marriage flies in the face of human nature. It is not natural. Even if that were so, say proponents, there is no reason to prohibit it. Well, yes there is. One cannot render something natural if it is inherently not. One cannot declare something possible when it is manifestly not. If a man has the misfortune to be born blind, he is not going to play shortstop for the NY Yankees. If a woman has a cleft palette, she is not going to sing Puccini at the Met. If a person is nervous and easily excitable, that person will not be invited to join the bomb disposal squad.

Well, if a man lies with another male, rather than a female, he is not going to produce a baby. The latter combination, when it occurs under the rubric of normal marriage, is, according to the accepted wisdom of all mankind stretching back through the ages, the natural and right way to structure a family for the preservation of the species. Artificially declaring that unnatural alliances – such as gay unions, polygamy or man-child love groupings – constitute equally valid forms of marriage is the height of human arrogance and folly. It represents one more nail in the coffin of Western Civilization – indeed of civilization itself.

The key feature of American civilization – or the American experiment, as it is commonly known – is the establishment and preservation of individual liberty. Within the bounds of the rule of law and without doing any harm to fellow citizens, Americans are free to pursue their own destiny – economically, culturally and politically. That freedom guarantees the individual the right to pursue his sexuality with members of the same sex if he so chooses.

Similarly, an individual is free to be a pacifist who will not take up arms under any circumstances. But that does not change the accumulated wisdom of centuries, which teaches that evil lurks in the world, evil forces sometimes threaten peace-loving peoples and that if the latter do not defend themselves, they run the risk of death and destruction.

An individual is free to be an atheist. But that does not change the accumulated wisdom of centuries, which teaches that without the moral laws that arise from religious belief, a free people cannot govern itself and its society will eventually degenerate into tyranny or anarchy.

A young person is free to declare his independence from his family. But that does not change the accumulated wisdom of centuries, which teaches that a child’s ability to make reasoned and sensible decisions is not equal to that of his parents, and that the best environment for growth from childhood to adulthood is in the bosom of a loving family.

Well, the accumulated wisdom of centuries also teaches that the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is the fundamental building block of a healthy society – for nurturing children, for building strong and stable communities, and for respecting the moral laws that undergird a free society. The legalization of homosexual marriage is a blow – perhaps a fatal blow – to the classic institution of marriage. We undertake it at our peril.
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