Category Archives: Western Civilization

A Flight of Fantasy II: A Manifesto for Conservatives When They Regain Power

Prospects for Republicans to regain political power—in both the Congress and the Presidency—continue to improve. But as we learned sadly under the administration of George W Bush, Republican power does not necessarily result in conservative governance. In a recent post in this blog, I speculated about what conservatives might do if they do indeed receive a mandate from the American people. Moreover, I pointed out that such a mandate would come in one of two forms: either clear but limited (as it was for Reagan in the 80’s and Gingrich in the 90’s) or overwhelming and comprehensive (as it has not been since Coolidge, and perhaps longer ago).

In the last post I outlined three priorities that should determine the agenda in the case of a limited mandate. Those priorities were:

  1. Role of Government. Shrink the New Deal/Great Society/Obamania-inspired gargantuan government that is choking freedom out of American life.
  2. Defeat Islamic Fundamentalism. Reduce, and hopefully remove the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism as a threat to the US, to the West, indeed to the World.
  3. Recapture the culture. Initiate a multi-faceted approach toward rescuing the culture of the US. The basic goal is to restore (a reasonable facsimile) of the traditional culture that permeated American life from the 18th to the 20th century. Start on the long path toward delegitimizing the pornographic, anti-family, anti-religious, egalitarian, multicultural, environmentally wacky, anti-achievement, socialistic cesspool that passes for culture in America today.

Ideas and suggestions for action on each priority were presented in that post. In addition, I also promised that in a forthcoming post, I would outline a program to govern the actions of conservatives if and when the American people come to their senses and install a truly conservative government—with a strong and sustained mandate. Perhaps surprisingly, the same three principles serve as a linchpin for that agenda. Except that, with a strong and sustained mandate, the agenda could be pursued in a much more vigorous manner. It is my purpose to describe, as succinctly as possible, that ‘grand program’ here.

Before I launch into the precise program, let us briefly recall the fundamental idea that fuels progressivism—an idea whose pursuit has led to disastrous changes in our country. I will also explain why, after a century of experimentation, the idea is bankrupt and we must return to the conservative principles that made our country a bastion of freedom and a model for the world.

The fundamental idea that drives progressivism is that the traditional American culture, highlighted by individual liberty, free markets, rugged individualism, limited government, sanctity of private property and a ‘don’t tread on me’ mentality, inevitably leads to inequity, unfairness, injustice and oppression. These horrible consequences of the traditional culture are a blatant violation of how human beings should live on our planet. They can only be corrected by replacing the traditional culture with one that emphasizes redistribution of wealth, multiculturalism, a powerful central government acting as the ultimate arbiter of social and economic disparities, group rights and a hypocritical reliance solely on negotiation rather than force to reconcile differences. I say hypocritical because the principle only applies to international affairs, but not to domestic policies.

I believe history has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that striving for equality of outcome—aside from whether it is a proper goal for mankind—inevitably leads to tyranny. For proof, see the Soviet Union, East Germany, Cuba, China, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and even the European Union. The forcible taking from one to give to another—however justified it might appear in the abstract—deprives the former of liberty, property and, occasionally, of life. The coercive redistribution of wealth surely is one of the worst ideas that mankind has ever concocted—even if motivated by good intentions. Instead, the fundamental animating principle that should govern human behavior is equality of opportunity—that is, the same rules apply to everyone. After the games begin, some will outperform and out achieve others. If the society is just and the people morally sound, then those who excel will establish structures to aid those who do not. If, on the other hand, society (in the form of government) compels compulsory generosity, compulsory kindness or compulsory charity, then what it gets is not generosity, kindness or charity, but bitterness on the part of those deprived and resentment and irresponsibility from the benefiters. Charity and kindness can only result from an act performed with free will. Therefore, it is imperative that we reorient our country’s underlying philosophy from redistribution to equality of opportunity.

In the previous post I outlined for each of the above three priorities, concrete steps that conservatives could take, which the American people would support—even if they had granted conservatives only a limited mandate. If the mandate is broader, much more could be done. The two prime goals would be: first, a complete undermining of the liberal hegemony that has increasingly ruled the US over the last century; and second, a rekindling of the Constitutional republic that characterized US society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Of course I am not proposing that we toss out the internet, abandon CAT scans and shun nuclear energy. Progress in technological matters and improvements in the quality of life should be embraced. But the underlying principles of our political and economic systems and, most importantly, of our culture, should be restored to the tried and true conservative paradigms that we benefitted from so greatly and for so long.

With that in mind, I will list, for each of the three priorities, some bold steps that I believe a strongly empowered conservative government should pursue. Each step merits a full essay. I and others will write those essays when the day of reckoning draws nearer. For now, let’s just settle on the broad strokes of the program—more of a conservative manifesto than a conservative playbook.

1. Shrink the government. Reagan failed to do it. So did Gingrich. This must be Job One of a new, powerful conservative government. Here’s how to do it:

·       A renewed emphasis on the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution must be implemented. These amendments make clear that the people are sovereign and that, aside from the limited and defined powers granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution, all remaining powers are reserved to the States and to the people. The willful ignoring of these Amendments by the Federal Government—and the people’s acquiescence in that usurpation—are at the root of the unchecked growth in the power of the Federal Government.

·       The Federal Government’s budget must be restricted to a percentage of GDP more in line with historic figures. Before WWI, it was less than 10%; since WWII, it has ranged between 25 and 35%; and in the age of Obama it is over 40%.We should reduce it to no more than 20%.

·       Federal entitlement programs are out of control and by themselves threaten to bankrupt the country. They all should be severely curtailed and ultimately privatized. This is a huge challenge and unfortunately has to be done somewhat gradually as an overnight implementation would wreak chaos.

·       Every federal agency’s budget should be cut by at least 25%, and at least 25% of the agencies should be phased out. Several cabinet level departments should be axed. More draconian cuts would be a worthy goal.

·       All federal taxes (income, payroll, capital gains, estate, etc.) should be cut by at least 25% and preferably more.

·       The number of federal regulations should be cut by at least 50%.

·       The deficit and national debt must be addressed. If all the previous steps were taken, they would go a long way toward substantially reducing the deficit. In addition, there should be statutory or constitutional limits set on the permissible size of the deficit as a percentage of GDP—never more than 5% as it has been historically (except during the two world wars); now it exceeds 10% and is increasing. But even better would be a Constitutional mandate for a balanced budget (as is the case in virtually all the States), which could only be violated in times of national emergency and only upon a three quarters vote of Congress. These steps and a growing economy will enable us to start paying off the debt.

·       The Federal Government should sell off large portions of its tangible assets including buildings, land and equipment. The proceeds should go toward reducing the national debt.

·       Judicial power must be reined in. Appointments for life should be terminated. Justices should serve fixed terms (e.g., 10, perhaps 15 years), renewable by the consent of the Senate at most once.

·       The Federal Reserve should be reexamined. Its power and related controversial issues—such as whether a return to the gold standard is wise—should be open for serious discussion.

2. Defeat Islamic Fundamentalism. Above all, we must recognize and appropriately name the danger we face: A resurgent, worldwide and radical Muslim movement that intends to destroy the United States, Israel and Western Civilization. Like the previous totalitarian movements we defeated, Nazism and Communism, radical Islam is bent on world domination. Unlike the previous two, radical Islam is not led from a single nation state. But that does not make the threat to us any less dangerous. Thus far, we have been reluctant to name our enemy and we have refused to acknowledge that we are in an existential battle. The sooner we do so, the better able we will be to deal with and win that battle. Here, in brief, are some of the steps we must take:

·       Although there is not a single source, there are identifiable sites of greatest strength—for example, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. We must impose severe sanctions on the first and punitive measures on the latter two to induce modified behavior. Military action must never be ruled out.

·       We must make clear that, should circumstances warrant, Teheran is a potential military target—but so are Medina and Mecca. That will focus their attention on the price they might pay for pursuing their mad quest.

·       The US must beef up its military. That means a larger force and the most advanced weapons—conventional, nuclear and those designed for asymmetric warfare. We must restore the capabilities of our intelligence services.

·       We should recognize that Israel is our most reliable ally in this struggle and cease our fixation on the so-called ‘Palestinian problem.’ Were Israel to disappear and Fatah/Hamas/Hizbollah to rule the Holy Land, it would not change by one iota the fundamental goal of the Islamic radicals to obliterate the West.

·       We must find a way to reenergize our NATO allies: they should cease their appeasement of our common Muslim enemies (which are increasingly found inside their borders); beef up their military capabilities; and seriously engage in this global struggle that threatens their existence even more than ours.

·       We should stop apologizing for ‘past American sins,’ reaffirm our role as the world’s chief bastion and model of freedom and go on the offensive against the enemy that endangers us. We need to engage the Jihadists in the court of world opinion as well as on the batttlefield.

3. Culture. As I have argued forcefully in the previous post and elsewhere, this is the greatest challenge facing conservatives—that is, recapturing the culture from the left that has almost completely usurped it over the last century. Here are the key philosophical principles that should guide us. (Some concrete action steps were described in the last post.)

·       A reverence for, allegiance to and study of the US Constitution must be a characteristic of all Americans, both young and old.

·       Similarly, the study of and pride in US history must be ubiquitous among the people.

·       Individual liberty must be restored as our highest goal. This does not mean an entitlement mentality that sees all of us with equal outcomes at the end of the day, but rather equal opportunity for all of us to achieve at the highest levels we can attain.

·       A belief in free markets, entrepreneurship, democratic capitalism and a rejection of the idea that the government can run our economy more effectively than the entrepreneurs, investors, shopkeepers and laborers who create and populate our job market.

·       Clean up the filth and degeneracy, propagated by the media, academia and the legal profession, which poses for culture in liberal America. This will not be an easy task. It requires higher moral standards among the people. Religion needs to play a role.

·       Restore pride in myriad aspects of the traditional culture that have been marginalized: Calvinist work ethic, humility, restraint, thrift, nuclear family.

·       Cease and desist all multicultural crap like: bilingual education, diversity programs, group rights, gay marriage and coddling of illegal immigrants.

·       Look to religious, civic, neighborhood and private philanthropic organizations to provide charity to the less fortunate—NOT the government.

Here’s the icing on the cake—two bold steps that would truly herald a refounding of America as a Constitutional republic. First, some of the above-mentioned steps might require a modification of the Constitution. The standard Amendment process is long and difficult. How about a Constitutional Convention? The Constitution provides for it. Just because we have not done it since 1787 does not mean that it is not a good idea. Second, it is not only Supreme Court justices who pledge to protect and defend the Constitution. Members of Congress and the President do the same. Perhaps it is time for them, like the members of the Court, to deem themselves responsible for deciding constitutionality of laws. I acknowledge this is a tricky matter, but I believe the founders foresaw that all the members of the government at the highest level would be equally responsible for safeguarding the Constitution.

Is America ready to embark on such a journey? I wish I could say that I was optimistic about the possibility. But the US has exhibited remarkable rejuvenative powers in response to numerous existential crises in the past. This one poses a greater problem in that the crisis has been festering for a century and its true nature is hidden from much of the population. Yet, unlike our President, I believe in American exceptionalism. It might ride to the rescue after all.

Broken Deals: Violating the Commandments, Abrogating the Constitution

I happen to be a member of two communities, inside each of which a majority of the members is in the process of abandoning the fundamental agreement that established the community. I am speaking about the Jewish people and the United States of America. In the first case, the deal was struck more than three thousand years ago; in the latter, a mere two and one quarter centuries have passed since the bargain was made. My purpose here is: to briefly describe the deals, who made them and how they were ratified; then to present some evidence to establish that indeed they are being broken; and finally, to compare the two processes of revocation in order to uncover both the similarities and differences between them. The latter comparison will lead me to some speculative thoughts on the consequences these broken deals might have in the future.

The deal that set the Jewish people off on their at times majestic, at times horrific journey through history was struck in the Sinai after the Exodus from Egypt. The deal was between a ragtag bunch of homeless tribes unified in their belief in a single God and that God. The people promised that they would lead a holy life, chiefly by complying with a set of complicated, onerous and in some ways incomprehensible laws that He ordained for them. In return, He would make them a mighty nation whose example would lead all the peoples of the world to accept God’s reign under which humanity would know peace and harmony. It is not unreasonable to view the Jewish people’s willingness to endure 40 years in the desert without losing their faith and the resulting successful conquest of Canaan as the ratification of the deal by both parties. But God’s promise has not been fulfilled. Many Jews would argue that that is because the Jews have not kept their part of the bargain.

The deal that established the USA is more recent and more concrete. It is laid out clearly in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The parties to the deal were the American people, that is, the Yanks of the late eighteenth century made the deal with themselves. Of course, like the Jewish deal, it obligated the descendants of the original deal-makers to adhere to the terms. And like the deal the Jews made with God, the terms of the deal the American patriots made with themselves are not hard to state. Briefly, in exchange for establishing a system of government characterized by: clearly delineated limited powers, entrusted to distinct branches of government, subject to checks and balances between the branches and between the federal and state governments, and capable of modification only by an elaborate process that required the support of the great majority of the people; in return, the people would enjoy individual liberty, clearly enunciated rights and freedoms, equal opportunity to achieve prosperity and a civil society upon which the government and its members would not tread. The deal was ratified by the thirteen colonies and the American people largely lived up to the bargain for more than a century. But in the last hundred years, the deal has been slowly unraveling.

That both deals are in a poor state of repair is self-evident. First, the percentage of world Jewry that adheres to the laws God set down for them is very low—certainly no more than 10%. Moreover, one probably has to go back to the nineteenth century to discover a time when that percentage was significantly higher. God hasn’t been doing such a great job holding up his end either. It is only two thirds of a century since he allowed one third of his partners to be ruthlessly butchered. Yes, the State of Israel was born and American Jewry enjoys great freedom to pursue its Jewish culture and traditions. But ‘a mighty nation leading the world to peace and harmony.’ I think not. The world-wide animosity toward Israel and the Jewish people is as deep and wide as at any time in recent centuries.

Sad to say, the American deal is not in great shape either. Let me review: limited government—hardly; checks and balances—Congress has relinquished its power to declare war, the executive violates the Bill of Rights with impunity, and the Courts usurp the powers of both the executive and legislative branches with abandon; a federal system with sovereignty shared by the national and state governments—that would be news to the States; and finally, both the government and the people ignore the Constitution as if it were a dusty old family document in the attic that invokes fond memories but has little relevance to life today. As a consequence, our freedoms are eroding, our prosperity is at risk, group rights are eclipsing individual liberty and society is not so civil any longer.

Well, you might say, this is very interesting, but what do the two phenomena have to do with one another? The answer will emerge from a close examination of where the two processes resemble each other, and where they differ.

First, the processes of severing their seminal agreements—which is being perpetrated by Jews and Yanks—are alike in at least four main ways:

1. Double deals. The Jews concluded their deal with God, but certainly the deal was also with themselves and with their posterity. The 12 tribes might have been unified in their monotheistic belief, but they also had separate identities and they saw the deal as a mutual obligation. Furthermore, it goes without saying that they expected their progeny to maintain the agreement.

Similarly, although the Yanks of 1775-1787 were binding themselves to a specific form of government and organization of society, they saw themselves as fulfilling a holy vision, and in particular they believed that their success in the Revolutionary War could not have been achieved without the benevolent hand of Divine Providence. The writings of the Founding Fathers are well-stocked with references to America as the new Jerusalem and the American people as the new Israelites. They definitely saw God as a party to the deal. And like the ancient Israelites, they expected that their descendants would live up to the agreement.

So in both cases, the deal breakers are betraying themselves, their God and their children.

2. Not a recent phenomenon. The cracks in both deals have been evident for a very long time. The Jews were fashioning golden calves almost from the beginning. The spies Moses sent to scout the land of Canaan doubted God’s ability to keep His promise. Indeed, Jewish history is overflowing with examples of both parties violating their obligations under the Sinai agreement. It’s a wonder that the parties still pay any homage to the agreement at all. (More on that later.)

As for the Yanks, I and others have repeatedly written about how the origins of the unraveling of the American experiment in self-government trace to the socialist ideas imported from Europe in the late nineteenth century. I won’t repeat the litany here, but let me just mention again that from John Dewey’s idea of ‘free’ public education intended to capture the minds of American youth, to Wilson and the 16th and 17th Amendments, to Roosevelt’s New Deal (note the choice of noun), to Johnson’s Great Society, to our current Messiah, we have seen a more or less steady drift of American society away from the ideals bequeathed to us by the Founders.

3. Remaining remnant. Neither revocation is complete. There exist ardent adherents in both communities who remain faithful to the terms of the deal as fervently as their forefathers were at the inception. Their percentage might be small, but they are deeply committed.

4. Failure to recognize. In both revocations, the descendants of the original deal-makers, who are throwing the agreement out, are either blind or naïve. Either they are unaware of what they are doing, i.e., they are truly ignorant of their obligations under their ancestors’ agreement. Or they believe that the course they are pursuing—which is in direct violation of their obligation—will actually improve on the deal, and that the radical changes they intend are consistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of the  agreement. Thus, one has Jews who see the pursuit of ‘social justice’ superseding religious obligation; moreover, they pronounce that such a pursuit is in fact a fulfillment of the deal at Sinai. Similarly, there are Americans who do not accept that their statist philosophy is a perversion of the founding agreement, but instead see it as consistent with the Founders’ Constitution—and even if not, it will yield a more just society than living under the Constitution has.

Next, let’s consider the key differences. I will highlight three.

1. Size. This is obvious. There are three hundred million Americans and perhaps as many as 14-15 million Jews in the world. The proportion is no better if instead one considers the size of only the remaining remnants. It’s hard to say in either case exactly what the size of the remnant is. But I venture that no more than 2-3 million Jews see themselves as bound by the deal at Sinai, while there might be as many as 60-75 million Americans who believe that the US should continue to be governed according to the principles of our founding documents. This would suggest that the latter (i.e., the remnant Americans) have a better chance of reinstating their deal than do the former (remnant Jews). But let’s see.

2. Dispensation. What I am after here is an understanding of ‘what comes after’ should the deal be totally forsaken. In fact, as with the matter of size, this issue appears to be transparent. Should the end of the ConstitutionalRepublic that is the USA come about, there will be no great Gotterdammerung. Our country will simply morph into a clone of a Euro-socialist state, as Canada has. Gradually, the memory of American exceptionalism will fade away and the people of the USA, or should I say the servants of the US Government, will live their lives unaware of what they have surrendered. Still, there are many unknowns. Will China come to dominate the world? What about India? Or will the Islamic fundamentalists succeed in creating a world-wide Caliphate? Whatever happens, the best we could hope for America is a continued existence as a second-rate power with scarcely a trace of the creative drive and prosperity that was fueled by the unparalleled freedoms we enjoyed in the past.

The fate of the Jewish people, should they totally renege on their deal, is easier to describe—oblivion. From the end of the Second World War until now (roughly two thirds of a century) the Jewish population of the world has increased by at most 25%, and probably less. Most of that increase can be attributed to the remaining remnant. If there will be no remnant, there will eventually be no Jewish people. If the maniacs in Iran and/or the Arab world manage to defeat Israel, the end might come very swiftly.

So while neither fate is particularly appetizing, one is much harsher than the other—extinction versus a radical change in the nature of the organism, but not its destruction.

3. Survival. Now I am thinking about what might happen should there continue to be a strong remnant, but its percentage does not rise significantly from its current state. Here my projection might surprise the reader. In fact, unlike #2, the advantage is to the Jews over the Americans. The Jewish people have proven, over a history whose length exceeds ten times that of the Americans, that their ability to survive—even the most horrendous circumstances (Shoahs, expulsions, pogroms and the like)—is unequaled by any group in history. I have absolutely no doubt that even a small group of Jews, if committed to the ideals of their forefathers, could survive—perhaps for another few millennia.

I am less sanguine about the survivability of the AmericanRepublic. We are perilously close to changing the fundamental nature of the nation. In a majority rule country like ours, should a sufficient percentage of the citizenry decide that it wants to make a completely new deal, there will be little the surviving remnant will be able to do save leave.

So let me conclude with a speculative glimpse into the future of both communities. As I said, time has proven that the power of the ideas put forth at Sinai is sufficient to guarantee the continued existence of a critical remnant of Jewry, committed to upholding the deal. Even if—God forbid—Israel and America should fold, that remnant will continue, likely in South America or Australia, perhaps even in corners of North America or Europe. Even if the light from the star that the Jewish people represent in the firmament of the world might dim, it’s not going out. Nevertheless, that does not excuse the Jewish people—all of them, not just the remnant—from its responsibility to do everything it can to ensure that the star continues to shine brightly. Unfortunately, as I have shown in two recent articles ( and–ii.php), the American Jewish community has not been doing such a good job discharging that responsibility. If the star dims, the percentage of the Jewish people that the remnant constitutes could grow—and then the ‘foolishness’ might cease.

As for the American deal, I fear that the vectors are pointing in the wrong direction. If I may quote from a previous article:

‘The Left has been advancing on many fronts in our country for more than a hundred years. They have captured the media, the educational establishment, most foundations, the legal profession and more. Their progress has been steady, highlighted by periods of huge leaps to port (under Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and perhaps now Obama). The only successful counterattacks in the 20th century came under Coolidge and Reagan. And while Reagan had some success, his good work has largely been undone by the Bushes and other fake conservative Republicans who aped and appeased the liberals over the last twenty years—which has resulted in the unmitigated disaster that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime represents.

It is easy for a conservative to survey the scene and be dejected. The behemoth that the Federal Government has become constrains our individual freedoms on a daily basis—and the Obama team is working feverishly to turn the screws tighter. The respect for Western Civilization and our Constitutional, republican system among the people is at an all-time low—and declining. Our economy is crippled by massive debt, a crumbling dollar and runaway entitlements; the latter summons the image of a train speeding on a one-way track toward a brick wall—and Obama is stepping on the accelerator. Who or what shall rescue us? Oh despair…’

Still, as the catchy line goes, ‘Predictions are difficult, especially of the future.’ At the time of Johnson’s Great Society, who could have predicted Reagan? And in the days of Reagan’s morning in America, who could have predicted Obama’s dark night? But I don’t foresee many more seesaw movements like this. It seems to me that one of two eventualities is in store for us. I believe that within a generation, two at most, either there will be a true, powerful and long-term conservative renaissance in the USA or we will slip irreversibly into a permanent leftist nightmare. By the former I mean a complete reversal of the statist path we have been traveling. I’m talking huge majorities in Congress, several presidents at least as conservative as Reagan, and the marginalization (but preferably the dismantling) of the liberal hegemony that the leftist-dominated media, educational system, legal profession and foundations have imposed on the nation. I know, it’s hard to imagine that happening, but I believe it is possible. If it doesn’t occur, then I think the slow (and sometimes not so slow) inexorable drift of American society to the left will pass what Thomas Sowell has called the ‘tipping point,’ on the other side of which is an egalitarian tyranny that spells the death knell for the Republic that our Founders envisioned. If that happens, given the horrendous mistake the American people made in the last election, I doubt that we will even recognize the moment that our collective heads slip under the water.

Preaching to the Choir

After a recent posting here, a regular reader sent me a message saying: ‘As usual, Ron, I like very much what you wrote; but in the end, what is the point? You are just preaching to the choir!’ By this, she meant that, as far as she could see, the readership of my blog—and other outlets of a similar bent—consisted of people who were already convinced of the merits of the arguments advanced by me and other conservative writers. Therefore, she wondered, what were we accomplishing beyond the reinforcement of each others already well-established beliefs? She has a point. But I also believe she misses some points. My goal here is to address her concern.

I will first lay out four objectives that I pursue in publishing a conservative point of view in the blogosphere. Then I will step back and briefly describe the current perilous state of our country, which is in part a consequence of the political drubbing that conservatives have suffered recently, occasioned by their failure to practice what they preach. This will lead to a fifth—and most crucial—reason for why it is important that conservative authors continue to fill the ‘pages’ of the conservative blogoshphere with their ideas.

1. Development and Reinforcement. The most basic objective, and the one I stand ‘accused of’ by my reader, is the development and reinforcement of my own ideas on political conservatism. A measure of the worth of one’s beliefs is how well they stand up to one’s own scrutiny as well as the scrutiny of one’s sympathetic listeners. More than three decades ago, my formerly liberal ideas failed that test when several traumatic events (chief among them the forced busing of my child) caused me to closely reexamine my political axioms. It is important that those who are motivated to put their political ideas ‘out there’ should regularly subject those ideas to the tests of self-examination and public scrutiny. In any event, the positive feedback I receive from readers is very reassuring.

2. Refinement. This is close to, but not exactly the same as the first objective. I seek not only to reinforce my and my ‘co-believers’ ideas, but also to refine and improve them. In this regard, the reactions I hear from both sympathetic and non-sympathetic readers are highly useful. We are often seduced by the harmony of our own music, but there is always room for improvement. Putting one’s ideas into the trough of public opinion is a good means to elicit both the friendly and unfriendly criticism that can lead to a sharpening of one’s arguments.

3. Influencing the opposition. I am always a little surprised to learn that my blog does receive some limited attention from liberal readers. In particular, I have many friends and relatives who fall in the enemy camp, and yet some of them read my posts carefully. Occasionally, I get correspondence from such a reader acknowledging a point I made and admitting the legitimacy of my view. A small but gratifying victory. No liberal would be exposed to conservative ideas if the blogosphere did not exist. Other conservative media outlets, some of which have substantial liberal following, play a similarly salutary role.

4. Winning the culture war. In several earlier postings (see, e.g., or, I outlined a long-term strategy for recapturing the conservative spirit that once animated the majority of the American populace. Put simply, it was to reverse engineer the mechanism, dreamt up by socialist thinkers a century ago—which was to completely capture the culture of the nation, knowing that the politics would follow. That is precisely what has happened. In those articles I laid out some ideas for reversing the process. The conservative blogoshpere plays a fundamental role in motivating the foot soldiers of the counterrevolutionary struggle.

The Left has been advancing on many fronts in our country for more than a hundred years. They have captured the media, the educational establishment, most foundations, the legal profession and more. Their progress has been steady, highlighted by periods of huge leaps to port (under Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and perhaps now Obama). The only successful counterattacks in the 20th century came under Coolidge and Reagan. And while Reagan had some success, his good work has largely been undone by the Bushes and other fake conservative Republicans who aped and appeased the liberals over the last twenty years—which has resulted in the unmitigated disaster that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime represents.

It is easy for a conservative to survey the scene and be dejected. The behemoth that the Federal Government has become constrains our individual freedoms on a daily basis—and the Obama team is working feverishly to turn the screws tighter. The respect for Western Civilization and our Constitutional, republican system among the people is at an all-time low—and declining. Our economy is crippled by massive debt, a crumbling dollar and runaway entitlements; the latter summons the image of a train speeding on a one-way track toward a brick wall—and Obama is stepping on the accelerator. Who or what shall rescue us? Oh despair…which leads me to my last and most important reason why I, why all conservatives need to keep putting the truth before the American people.

5. Faith. The creation of the American experiment in self-government more than two centuries ago was an act of faith. Our founders had faith, not only in Divine Providence, but also in the good sense of the American people, whom they believed manifested a unique zeal for the ideals of individual liberty, limited government and moral propriety. They understood that the struggle to maintain those ideals in the future would be difficult—that it would require the continued benevolent hand of Providence and the good judgment of the people. Without these, the Republic would succumb to one of the tyrannies at either end of the political spectrum—the concentrated power of a despotic individual or group, or the mobocracy inherent in an unchecked ‘democracy’ devoted to mindless egalitarianism. Today the Republic is in danger, thanks to a bizarre combination of both extremes—albeit much more of the latter than the former.

The fifth objective of the conservative blogosphere is to express its continued faith that the two sets of hands into which our founders entrusted the American experiment are still reliable. Conservatives still believe, as Reagan said, that ‘God had a divine purpose in placing this land between the two great oceans to be found by those who had a special love of freedom and courage,‘ which expresses our faith in both founding pillars. If we lose that faith, then there truly is no hope.

Is the United States of America Doomed?

Recently I posted a piece in this blog entitled, ‘On the Existential Threat to Israel.’ In it, I discussed the manifold, deadly threats confronting the Jewish State and how many of them eventually, and perhaps imminently, could prove lethal. I also located the threats in the context of three portentous developments in the world:

  1. A worldwide resurgence of Islam, much of it in a radical and deadly mode;
  2. A worldwide resurgence of virulent Anti-Semitism, much of it cloaked as anti-Zionism, but in reality nothing more than old-fashioned Jew hatred;
  3. The steep decline within Western Civilization of self-esteem.

Finally, I pointed out how each of these developments also posed a mortal danger to the nations of the West (specifically in Europe and North America). It was easy to justify the latter claim for numbers 1 and 3; the justification for number 2 was somewhat subtle and restricted to Europe.

In this article I will look more closely at these ‘existential threats as they apply to the United States. While alarmingly present in Europe, number 2 above is, thankfully, not really pertinent in the US — but its place in the list is taken ably by another malignant threat to our nation, our gargantuan federal government. Thus, with some revision to the first and third to make them more applicable to the US as opposed to the entire West, the threat list now reads:

  1. The rise of Islamist fundamentalism, or Islamism or Islamo-fascism as some prefer to call it — is it as much of a threat to the US as it obviously is to Europe?
  2. An increasingly powerful, coercive, unresponsive, irresponsible and repressive federal government.
  3. The sharp decline among the American public of faith in American exceptionalism, esteem for the historic culture of America and Western Civilization, respect for and adherence to the Constitution, and public displays of virtue as this would have been understood by the Founding Fathers.

Now the majority of the threats to Israel’s existence are physical —should they be fulfilled, it would likely result in the actual destruction of the State: the slaughter or expulsion of its people, the annihilation of its cities and towns, the total loss of sovereignty — that is, the physical extinction of the State in any corporal sense. (It makes my blood curl just to write that sentence.)

The threat to the US is more political, cultural and economic than it is physical. Even though one could imagine an attack or attacks on US soil by Islamists with WMD, it is not possible to foresee the Iranian Revolutionary Guard occupying the US, declaring an Islamist totalitarian state, and killing or forcibly converting those Americans who resist. Rather, the envisioned consequence, especially of the latter two threats to the US, should either reach a cataclysmic stage, is that our beloved republic would cease to exist in any sense in which our Founders understood it. Our people, our towns, our industry,our farms, our infrastructure, even our armed forces might remain intact. But: liberty would no longer be our most sacred value; our freedoms would vanish; our Constitutional rights would be replaced by the ‘bounty’ we receive from the State; a phony tolerance for all cultures would supersede our Judeo-Christian heritage; our morals would be defined by the government and its lackey media,not by religious principles; our economy would be directed by the government and entrepreneurs would not exist; our standard of living would sink precipitously; our military would atrophy and we would cease to be a great power; and the concept of American exceptionalism would be relegated to the dustbin of history as we take our place as just another cowardly, Euro-socialist, crippled nation watching as the might of China, India, Islam or whomever grows and supplants us as the most powerful force on Earth. America has been a beacon of freedom and a force for good in the world for nearly a quarter millennium. Will that be true of our successor if we fall?

How real are these threats and, if they are, what can we do to forestall them? They are very real. First, the end of the Cold War has seen the emergence of a virulent, fanatical and apocalyptic brand of Islam. It has always been there, just in decline and/or slumbering for the last few hundred years. But now ‘Islamic Civilization’ is displaying some traits that seem to be disappearing in the West — namely, self-confidence, religious fervor, ample foot soldiers willing to die for the cause and a bold vision of the future. The ascendant forces in the Islamic world would seem intent on restoring the caliphate and extending Muslim hegemony over vast stretches of the planet, commensurate with their reach a millennium or more ago. They see Europe, and increasingly the United States, as soft, retreating, lacking faith and morale,and ripe for the plucking. It would be the height of folly for the US to ignore the goals of the Islamists, and thus fall prey to the malevolent harm they intend to inflict (and to some extent have already inflicted) on our society.

With the prior assessment of the first threat, I suspect a significant portion, perhaps a majority, of my fellow citizens might agree. But I doubt any such agreement is forthcoming on the second threat.

The ranks of conservative, republican (small ‘r’) patriots have been thinning rapidly since Ronald Reagan passed from the scene. I venture that no more than 20-25% of the US citizenry is aware of the century-long degradation of our Constitutional republic that has occurred. From Teddy Roosevelt, through Wilson, then FDR, Johnson, Carter and now Obama we have seen a near constant retreat from the original liberty-focused, market-oriented, limited form of republican government that our Founders established, and a concurrent march toward the egalitarian, government-controlled, Constitution-ignoring, business-bashing, soft tyranny that our system has become. If Obama wins on either cap and trade or nationalized health insurance, we might pass the point of no return and the Republic will be lost forever.

Am I overstating the danger posed by our overgrown government? Recently, a financial adviser speaking to me about the economy and the stock market, acknowledged the grave dangers that Obama’s and the radical leftists in Congress’ programs portend for the economy. But then he asserted that historically, the market has factored in the constraints caused by the introduction of the income tax, Social Security, Medicare, Sarbanes-Oxley and myriad other government laws and regulations that have hampered American business; and then continued its inexorable, if uneven, march forward. Well then, he continued, the market will just factor in Obama’s monstrosities as well and continue as in the past. I would sum up that stance in the words: we’ve been alright in the past despite stupid and self-destructive moves, so we shall be alright in the future, despite stupid and self-destructive moves. I’m not so sure! As Thomas Sowell has said, there is a tipping point and I fear we are getting mighty close to it.

Yet, I doubt there is widespread agreement with my fear of an existential danger posed by the federal government. Some folks believe, like my colleague, that we’ll withstand the government’s latest assaults and continue our march forward. I suspect an even greater proportion of the populace doesn’t acknowledge the threat at all. They cherish all the ‘security’ and goodies that big government provides for them and ignore the wisdom of Reagan, who said that Government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.

Finally, the third threat — loss of self esteem — poses, in my mind, the gravest threat of the three. History reveals that great civilizations more often die by suicide than by conquest. The nations of Western Europe, having lost their faith in the cultural, political and economic principles that sustained them for centuries, are playing the death scene right now. The US is manifesting the same symptoms, albeit at an earlier stage. And yet again, I think there is even less support for my belief in this threat than there is for the previous, I sense that the vast majority of my fellow citizens do not recognize that the egalitarian, anti-religious, anti-patriotic, anti-free market, anti-family, big government, unconstitutional and basically anti-American program that is being thrust on them — and to which they appear increasingly receptive — is a recipe for the death of the United States as a free republic. People say reflexively that America is still the greatest country in the world. But because of the brainwashing to which they have been subjected for many decades at the hands of the media, government schools, the higher education establishment and all the other liberal-dominated, opinion-forming organs of American society, those naively optimistic folks have little understanding of how much the US has changed in the last century and where it is headed sans a conservative course correction.

So what is to be done? As I outlined in a previous article, ‘Different Visions,’ while there is definitely a political and economic component to the struggle, the effort to recapture the nation and preserve the structure bequeathed to us by the Founders must be primarily cultural. Repeating part of the argument there, ‘We need to have conservative philosophers and cultural icons that state the case for and epitomize the worth of traditional Western culture. More mundanely, we need to nurture conservative film makers, fund conservative law schools, build conservative foundations (like Heritage, but more of them), defend and expand talk radio, establish conservative newspapers (like the Washington Times, but more of them), concoct an organization to counter the NEA in the minds of the country’s teachers, abandon the mainline churches and support religious institutions that champion traditional values, etc. It might take a hundred years to achieve success; after all it took the Left a century to reach the dominance it currently enjoys. If we don’t do this, then the America that we have loved and which has proven to be such a boon to the peoples of the world will surely – perhaps slowly, but maybe not so slowly – wither into one more Euro-socialist State. Then the light from mankind’s last best hope will have gone out.’

To summarize, I believe the US will cope with the first threat. We took care of the Nazis and the Communists; we’ll defeat the Islamists as well — provided we don’t succumb to one of the latter two threats first. As for the second threat, I don’t believe we can meet it without successfully overcoming the third. If we continue to lose self-esteem, that is lose faith in our heritage, pride in our achievements, trust in free markets and respect for the system established by the Founders, then surely the government will continue to grow into a republic-destroying monster that will make our current soft tyranny seem tame in relation to the much harder tyranny we shall experience.

On the other hand, if there is a resurgence of patriotic spirit, cultural pride, renewed faith in American exceptionalism and respect for our historic, republican, Constitutional heritage, then the people will be ready to tame the government beast. America has faced grave crises previously: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Depression, Fascism, and Communism. In every instance, we managed to prevail. But with diminishing self-esteem prevalent, it is easy to be pessimistic about our prevailing again. And yet we have ammunition in this battle that Europe lacks — such as, God-fearing people, a formidable military, guns in the closet, talk radio and of course our Constitution. What we lack is another Reagan, or — recognizing that the battle is cultural more than political — a Martin Luther King who will inspire the people to reconnect with their liberty, rediscover their heritage and overcome the forces of tyranny that are dragging us down.

On the Existential Threat to Israel

I recently read two compelling pieces of work describing what their authors characterize as existential threats to the State of Israel. The first was an article inthe May 2009 issue of Commentary magazine by Michael Oren entitled ‘Seven Existential Threats.’ The second was the book by Aaron Klein published this year with the shocking title The Late Great State of Israel. Michael Oren is a well-known historian who was recently appointed Israeli ambassador to the United States; Aaron Klein is an intrepid journalist who has broken many major stories on the Middle East in the last decade. Two serious men in a position to know. Thus when both, in dead earnest, lay out highly plausible, even probable, scenarios fort he purposeful and imminent destruction of the 61-year-old Jewish State, it is impossible not to be startled.

But before I go any further, dear reader, please stop and contemplate the enormity and barbarity of the deed these authors have forecast — the purposeful and imminent destruction of the State of Israel. There is no other nation on Earth whose existence is so threatened. Not moral monstrosities like North Korea, Burma or Zimbabwe; not intensely dysfunctional countries like Somalia; not the recently invaded Georgia, nor the hopelessly poverty-stricken(Democratic Republic of the) Congo; not even the criminal banana republic that lies 90 miles off our southern shore. Only Israel!

Genocidal maniacs in nearby countries promise that not only will the Jewish State perish at their hands, but its five-plus million Jews will be slaughtered, scattered and/or reduced to vassal status. Moreover, the peoples of the world barely utter a peep in opposition tot his deranged intention. And even worse, there is evidence that a not insignificant portion of the people of Israel do not take the threat all that seriously . . . and too many of their leaders pursue policies that actually aid and abet the madmen who chase their ghoulish goal.

Tiny Israel, comprising a land mass in size no more than 0.0625% of that of the Arab world and 0.005% of the Muslim world, and totaling in population roughly 0.03% of the Arab world and again 0.005% of the world’s Muslims, this tiny Israel represents a cancerous growth to the Arabs and Muslims that must be excised. Israel, whose people have made the desert bloom, revived an ancient language, established world class educational institutions, pioneered breakthroughs in science and engineering, created art, music, theatre and literature that rival per capita the output of any nation in the world, developed agricultural techniques that have inspired mankind, and who have established and maintained a representative democracy under the rule of law unequaled by any Arab or Muslim neighbor — all while under a constant threat of annihilation from its birth; this country and its people, under an obscene death sentence, are not important enough for Western Civilization to come to their defense.

The cowards in Europe are more interested in oil and playing nice with the Muslim world. Israel’s presence in the Middle East interferes with those objectives. And while the Europeans acknowledge that they perpetrated some nasty business on the Jewish people some 65-70 years ago, well, Europe also considers the debt incurred by that business to be paid off and now it is time to move on. Even the new administration in the United States shows signs of ‘having had it with Israeli intransigence’ and is tilting toward policies that play into the hands of those bent on Israel’s destruction.

In this article I will review the evidence presented by Mssrs. Oren and Klein and then I will offer a broader theory that incorporates the thinking of both gentlemen.

Oren’s seven existential threats are, in the order he presents them: The Loss of Jerusalem, The Arab Demographic Threat, Deligitimization, Terrorism, A Nuclear-Armed Iran, The Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty and Corruption. Anyone who is paying even the slightest attention to Israeli affairs in recent years will know immediately what Oren means by the second, third, fourth and fifth threats. So I shan’t elaborate on them. But let us be clear on his meaning for the other three. 

In ‘the Loss of Jerusalem,’ Oren identifies the usurper as the city’s non-Zionist population. He points out that the combination ofArab residents plus Haredim, that is, the so-called ultra-Orthodox, who reside in Jerusalem but arguably are opposed to the existence of a Jewish State in pre-messianic times, now constitutes a majority of the city’s population. The dwindling number of secular Jews in the city has translated into a diminishing tax base, declining industry, fewer professionals and a hollowing out of the city’s cultural life that strips it of any ability to attract the country’s youth to visit, much less live there. Oren asserts that ‘the preservation of Jerusalem as the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish state is vital to Israel’s existence . . . The city represents the raison d’etre of the Jewish state, and without it Israel would be merely another miniature Mediterranean enclave not worth living in, much less defending.’

With the term ‘Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty,’ Oren highlights the fact that Israel is losing effective control over large portions of its land mass and population. Once again, he identifies the growing Arab and Haredi communities, more specifically, the regions in whicht hey live as increasingly outside the normal legal jurisdictions of the Jewish Sate. In a parallel vein, where else in the world would you find a country with a legislature that contains a significant percentage of members devoted to the dissolution of the State?

Finally, there is the matter of corruption. Certainly in recent times, Israel has been afflicted by an unusually large outbreak of corruption among its leaders — a former President, a former Prime Minister and too many others. Oren claims that this is the most severe threat that Israel faces. Here I do not agree with him. Sadly, pervasive corruption at high levels is endemic around the world. Unlike its other threats, there is nothing singular to Israel about this one.

Klein does not compile in his book a list of threats like Oren does. Rather he presents a sweeping portrait, in much greater depth than Oren’s magazine piece, of a country that is losing (or has already lost) its soul. Building around a description of approximately a dozen calamities that have befallen Israel (almost all self-inflicted), he paints a picture of a weak and vacillating leadership, a naive and borderline subversive media, a population too fixated on its own material well-being to focus clearly on the external and internal threats to the State, friends (US and Europe) who do more harm thangood and a host of hostile neighbors who are determined to bring an end to the Jewish State — soon!

The calamities are well-known to any follower of the Israeli scene; they include: the ill-advised unilateral retreat from south Lebanon, which has only led to rocket attacks on Israeli territory and an ineffective Israeli incursion that failed to achieve any meaningful objective; the equally ill-advised retreat from Gaza, with the same consequences; the unnecessary abandonment of the Temple Mount to Arab authority; the surrender and ultimate destruction of Joseph’s Tomb; foolish attempts to engage the Syrians in negotiations, including offers to abandon the Golan Heights — a military mistake of such enormous import that only suicide can be the conscious motive; allowing the illegal construction of tens of thousands of Arab domiciles while severely restricting the development of Jewish neighborhoods on the so-called West Bank; a reluctance to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, which could haunt Israel not just by giving Iran a capability to strike Israel with nuclear-armed missiles, but could also put WMD inthe hands of Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza; not dismantling the UN-administered ‘refugee camps’ in areas under Israel’s control; toying with the idea of retreat from (areas of) the West Bank, ignoring the fact that Hamas will take over those areas exactly as they did in Gaza and whence rockets will rain down on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; and finally, dancing with the duplicitous Palestinian Authority, which is just as determined to bring about Israel’s destruction as is Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran.

One striking feature that is common to both works: while the fact that many threats to Israel originate externally is not minimized, both authors raise the notion that much of the danger is due to cowardice and stupidity on the part of Israel’s political and cultural leaders. Klein drives the point home forcefully, Oren more obliquely.

I concur with these distinguished gentlemen that the threats to Israel are multiple, real, profoundly serious and if not confronted and dealt with, they could signal the death knell of the Jewish State. But I also believe that most if not all of the threats can be subsumed under three mega-trends that encompass them, and which pose a mortal danger to more than just tiny, beleaguered Israel. Those trends are:

1. A worldwide resurgence of Islam, much of it in a radical and deadly mode;

2. A worldwide resurgence of virulent Anti-Semitism, much of it cloaked as anti-Zionism, but in reality nothing more thanold-fashioned Jew hatred;

3. The steep decline within Western Civilization of self-esteem.

It is easy to fit many of the threats to Israel outlined by Oren and Klein under the umbrella provided by the first two trends. It is perhaps less clear in the case of the third. By that trend I of course mean the declining belief by the peoples of Europe and North America that the fundamental political, cultural, religious and social principles, which undergird the advanced civilization they constructed and maintained during the last half millennium, have any validity any longer. No civilization, lacking faith in its own bedrock principles, legends, stories, religions and history can long endure. Witness the demise of the late, unlamented Soviet Union, occasioned by precisely such a loss of self-esteem. The West appears headed down the same road with Europe in the lead — but with Obama in the saddle, the US is rushing to catch up. And Israel, which is surely an outpost of Western Civilization, has moved to the head of the pack.

Much of the cowardice and stupidity identified by Oren and Klein are merely manifestations of said loss of self-esteem. Of course Israel is in the cross-hairs of all three trends, but the West is not far behind. That is, the forces that are poised at Israel’s throat today will be at the throats of the nations in the West very soon — in some instances, they already are.

The malignant form of Islam that infects significant parts of the Muslim world is intent on conquering and subjugating not only Israel, but also the West, indeed the entire world. That goal might sound preposterous to Americans, who are far removed from the call of the muezzin. But that does not mean that it is not a professed goal —one that is vocalized and acted upon every day by its adherents. We ignore it at our peril.

As for the loss of self-esteem by Western Civilization, that is an increasingly explored topic in America today, especially in the conservative literature. I too have addressed it in previous installments in this blog. The election of Barack Obama and his cohort of ultra-liberal Congressional allies bear vivid testimony to the advancing state of decay in the United States. My point here is that the growing leftist, multicultural, pacifistic, egalitarian, anti-patriotic, anti-religious, corruption-riddled mentality that inhabits the Israeli body politic is, I believe, a manifestation of exactly the same kind of loss of self-esteem that is crippling Europe and increasingly the United States.

Finally, why is resurgent anti-Semitism a problem for the West as it is of course for Israel? Simple. History has shown that the words of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 12:3, ‘Now the Lord said unto Abra[ha]m: .. . And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’) are indeed true. Those nations that have welcomed and nurtured the Jews, like the US, have prospered and succeeded; those that have persecuted the Jews, like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, have been consigned to the ash heap of history. Once upon a time, not that long ago, the disease of anti-Semitism nearly destroyed Europe. The Europeans are apparently foolish enough to give it a second try. Pray that the US is not so foolish.