Confessions of a Carnivore

RedMeatThumbby Brad Nelson
First off, I’ve learned a great deal about the WordPress software and the various plugins or “widgets” available for it. This is generally the sort of geeky stuff I like doing. And I confess a taste for red meat as well…too much so.

And I’ve very much enjoyed taking articles that other people have written and trying to present them in the best and most profession way. Although I like writing, I have no desire to hog the space. I have always made an effort to put everyone else’s article above mine and with greater prominence.

I like reading and writing about various subjects. To my mind, this site is meant to be a venue (within a general conservative/libertarian context) for people to do so. My hope was not to create National Review Junior but to truly take our writing to the next level.

What surprised me was how many people didn’t want to do that. They seem satisfied in just ranting away at someone else’s views rather than having something of their own to say. In fact, it seems that many people are incapable of a more affirmative statement of their own.

I didn’t envision StubbornThings to be simply an outlet for a different kind of political red-meat bitching, no matter how refined that bitching was. I’ve been writing and blogging online for years now. And I must admit, I’ve truly tired of howling at the moon.

But as I tell my friends, I’m all for what I call “recreational or combat blogging.” That’s where you login somewhere and just do the equivalent of a little primal scream therapy. And we’ve all have done that (especially me), and there can be no harm in this. In fact, isn’t that what the comments section of NRO is really all about? I return there now and it all seems not just pointless but truly repulsive (although I do take a stab now and then, if only as a way to advertise this site).

Yes, once in a while I get my hackles up and do a little red meat eating. But a steady diet of it is something that I can no longer take. Or, to put it another way, it’s not really what I want to do. I would rather revel in the good things and ideas that are America, and The West, rather than to pretend that I am being someone important, or doing something important, by just blowing steam at the internet.

Even so, this site exists to present your articles in whatever style you want, about whatever subject you want, as long as it is not just liberal propaganda, Paulbotism, or just not of sufficient quality or interest. I’m not against red meat. But throw in a few vegetables too from time to time.

In order to change this country for the better, we’re going to have to learn to love it again. And that means more than just bitching and complaining, even if everything we say is 100% John-Adams-true. We need to realize that there can be no 100% political solution for what ails us, even if much of the problem has been because of politics.

That’s why I’m totally serious that if you have a recipe for all-American apple pie, I want to post it here. I want to bring forth and celebrate the good of America. I want to help restore that memory against the rotten tide of the revisionist Cultural Marxist influence.

Me, I like celebrating America by talking about the great movies that tend to either capture a snapshot of America at the time they were made, or present a rich and wholesome authentic view of America. And I like to read histories and biographies about America and Americans as well. There are so many approaches other than just doing Charles Krauthammer.

I’m just letting you know where I stand. And one of the truly hardest things for people to wrap their minds around in regards to “where I stand” is the idea that they don’t have to listen to me. They don’t have to stand in the same place. They can just post whatever they want (within a general conservative, libertarian, pro-American context). If someone wants to post 100 book reviews in a row about famous women in American history, have at it. If you want to post an exposition that delves into each and every one of the Federalist Papers, be my guest.

But don’t use me, this site, or what anyone else is writing as an excuse not to get off your own butt and do something. Where else can you go on the internet and have your stuff presented as a feature article? Granted, there isn’t much of a readership yet. And that readership might certainly expand if some of you could do the enormously challenging and physical task of simply hitting the “share” or “like” button below the articles.

This site is a blank-slate opportunity for you. My question for you conservatives/libertarians out there is if you can move beyond your egos, your orientation toward red-meat complaining, and a desire to pretend to do something when you are doing nothing, and instead add one authentic and cherished piece to the puzzle of putting Humpty Dumpty (America) back together again. Cherish her. Right now she needs a hug.

This is a very broad mission statement, I agree. And for those who think the site name and other graphical elements should change to represent this might have a point. But one thing I have stressed always is to try to think outside the box. Here you have very little constraints. You may more or less do and write as you wish. If you simply require a nice tidy box in which to work, then maybe this site is not right for you.

But if you can think outside the box, can (from time to time) set aside your voracious appetite for red meat, put aside your ego, and extoll a love for American that is, even partially, infectious, then have at it. That’s why we are here. But, again, if you are still thinking inside that box, none of this means that you can’t write the most damning, eviscerating critique of whatever subject you have a passion for — and one that is so good that it will get you an interview on Fox News. DO THAT. But I want you also to keep in mind to make sure you are not just howling at the moon.

Dennis Prager wrote a very interesting article recently titled Liberalism Makes It Easier to be Bad. Give it a read for its own sake. It’s a terrific piece. But it got me to thinking that there was an equivalent on the right side of the spectrum. If liberals choose liberalism as a cover for their own cruddy behavior, might not many of us choose conservatism (or blog as a conservative) as a way to pretend to be doing something when, in fact, we are doing very little?

I know that fits me to a tee for much of what I have ever written. And now I want to change gears and kinda-sort write a love song to America, in various ways, and not without some red meat when appropriate. But this site is not only about red meat. I think as individuals we need to recover something that we have lost. When we say that America has lost something and is going in the wrong direction, we have to understand that we live in this country too. • (1251 views)

Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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6 Responses to Confessions of a Carnivore

  1. Kung Fu Zu says:

    It is much more difficult to build than to tear down. It takes more effort and thought to come up with positive approaches to problems than to sit and complain.

    I know this is a cliche’, but I think people tend to forget this truth. Maybe they are just lazy.

    Too much of leftism is built on negativism and taking the easy way out. If someone is not successful in life, it must be someone else’s fault. In any case, it is much easier to bitch and blame others than to try and be positive and build something oneself.

    In today’s environment, it is extremely difficult to go out there with a positive message for everyone. First, a positive position and solution to a problem must be considered and formulated. Then it must be put into a form which is clear and easily understood. Then it must be broadcast in a hopeful, cheerful manner demonstrating the optimistic nature of the conservative creed. Finally, it must be repeated, repeated and repeated.

    Of course, why would anyone want to go to all that trouble when they can simply prove how smart they are by simply bitching on a blog?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thank you for your comments, Mr. Kung. There is much good fat there to chew on….we’ll call it chicken fat instead of red meat fat, just for the sake of argument.

      One of the challenges that I understand is that we conservatives are surrounded by a very caustic element: the Left. Christians will no doubt understand the idea of not throwing your pearls before swine lest they trample them under their feet and turn on you.

      And this has been a very effective technique to intimidate people. Jonah Goldberg writes extensively of this in “Liberal Fasicsm,” about “activism” and people getting into people’s faces. I totally understand (and don’t mind at all doing) getting back into the Left’s faces. The above essay is not refuting this need. I do believe in fighting fire with fire. It’s time to ditch stupid pompous idiots such as John McCain who simply wants to “reach across the aisle.”

      Nor is this essay a plea to “centrism.” Good god, no. Centrists are self-deluding fools, convinced of their own supposed Solomon-like wisdom.

      But there is an element to keep in mind. It is very easy to become like our enemies. As caustic, obnoxious, deceitful, and sometimes downright evil as the Left can be, there is something to be said for not letting them drag us down to their level — even while dismissing these fools with a Reagan-like humorous quip.

      Nor am I talking about toning down the language. John McCain is an asshole. Facts are indeed stubborn things, and that fact sticks to him like super glue.

      What I mean is that conservatives must also keep in mind that we must nurture and harness our better natures. We shouldn’t throw too many pearls in front of the swine, but let’s do remember to cherish the pearls.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, I hope my comments and articles qualify by your definition; it seems to me that they do, but that’s the sort of thing no one can judge for himself. As for the idea that there are conservatives who repeat the excesses common to liberals, this undoubtedly is true. There is NO liberal misbehavior that is unique to liberals; much of it, I think, may be unique to those with excessively strong ideological commitments (my housemate refers to this as ideolatry, but then as a Southern Baptist she tends to like religious imagery and references). The difference is that what is common, indeed mainstream, among liberals is less common, and more a fringe aspect, among conservatives. I will also note the danger of groupthink. Leftists, being collectivist and thus having to room for individual thought (because the group must always trump the individual), are particularly subject to this — but it can happen with any group and is thus always a potential concern for anyone.
    Meanwhile, I’m thinking of a few items I might include soon, such as a review of one or more of Fredric Brown’s mysteries (most likely The Far Cry or Night of the Jabberwock, but there are some other possibilities), a piece on certain religious aspects (inspired by Kevin D. Williamson’s article a week ago), and perhaps some more parodies.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Timothy, you’ve been an asset to this site, as have many others. But first and foremost I don’t want you to care what I think. 🙂 Think of this as sort of an opensource affair. We’re all a piece of the puzzle. One guy is the sky. One guy is the trees. Another guy is the pond. Etc. Someone is the head. Someone is the heart. Someone is the statistician. Someone is the jokester.

      I do not really want to sit here and host a site where you have the same-old same-old. Nor do I want people to freak out if they see a couple movie reviews.

      I guess this is spawned, in part, by when I returned to National Review the other day and just about choked on the same old nonsense — both from the writers of the article and those who responded to them. There’s an element of insanity to this, in the idea that insanity is defined by “You keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”

      Again, if someone wants to bicker and argue over ‘ho killed ‘ho, that’s fine. It’s an almost impossible request, but what I request does not me what I demand. That’s tough for people to wrap their mind around. DO YOUR OWN FUCKING THING! There. That should get the point across. But DO something. What I’m hoping to do is inspire (or heckle if I have to) people to get out of that mode we were all in at NRO. We can do better.

      Yes, part of this is just me trying to talk myself into a new attitude. But even so, I don’t think I’m wrong. I think it would do all us Americans good to try to look at the good things, to engage in a little gratitude, to disengage, at least a little, from the battle that is raging between the stupid (the Republicans) and the destructive (the Democrats).

      I love creativity. I love people taking a chance and doing something different (but that is still within their purview…not just different for different’s sake).

      Look around the web. The web is choked with same-old same-old political sites that are dry, noisy, angry, obnoxious, and very often irrelevant to how we actually live.

      All those review ideas sound wonderful. If you have fun doing them, do them! That’s the point, or at least part of the point.

      • Kung Fu Zu says:


        I am frankly amazed at the amount of product you are putting out on this site. I don’t know how you do it.

        Blogs are very difficult things to keep fresh and moving. If one doesn’t add something new everyday, people tend to get bored and move on. This is especially the case today as the attention span of too many in our great country is about the length of a micro wave.

        I am particularly busy at the moment, but hope to contribute something in the not too distant future. Until then I can only give you thanks and moral support.

        Of course, I can ask others to contribute too.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Thank you, Mr. Kung. One tries one’s best. You will slap me across the side of the head if I ever sound like I’m just filling a word quota.

          Tomorrow I’ll try to tackle John’s “God” article. He speaks in a language known to few. But I’m his unofficial translator. And that means I’ll botch it pretty good. But it should be fun. Post when you can. No pressure.

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