Et tu, Dr. Sowell?

by Brad Nelson   2/19/14

Joining Charles Cooke in kissing up to the GOP Establishment is Thomas Sowell who just penned this article that is critical of Ted Cruz: Ted Cruz and the Point of No Return.

My reply to Sowell’s article (which I shared over at NRO) is as follows:


Dr. Sowell, Valentines Day was February 14th. This belated valentine to the GOP Establishment stinks of stale and cheap candy hearts.

To sum up what you’ve said, “The highest importance is to be unified as a party.”

But under what principles? There you have gone silent. We’re treated instead to some irrelevant history of the Nazi Party while you ignore the actual history of the Republican do-nothing Establishment Party when they are in power.

And you make no mention of which principles that Ted Cruz is fighting for that you disagree with. Nor do you offer any examination of the GOP Establishment Party principles that we are all supposed to mindlessly rally around.

This article was a stinker. You are an intelligent man, but this was an ignorant article serving no purpose other than to plant a big, wet kiss on the backside of the Republican Establishment.

Statism is our enemy, generally speaking. And either we face up to the fact that the current Republican Party is friendly to statism or we keep getting these blathering articles on NRO telling us all that to actually critique the bland and craven principles of the Establishment Republican Party is “purist.”

Enough of this nonsense.
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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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49 Responses to Et tu, Dr. Sowell?

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    And as for “self serving” charge by Sowell regarding Cruz, I wasn’t aware that the RINO/statist wing of the party were all philanthropists.

    As Madison said in Federalist 51, “Ambition must be made to counter ambition.” Well, I’m all for Ted Cruz ambitiously countering the ambition of the statist RINO/Establishment Republicans. That’s the way our country was meant to work.

    And I wasn’t aware that you, Dr. Sowell, were giving away all your books and articles for free. It’s part of Reality 101 that people actually try to do what they think is in their own interest — saints and true philanthropists aside.

    And even then, every time I’ve heard Ted Cruz speak, he sounds more like a selfless patriot intent on preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution than all these faux “very conservative” Establishment Republicans whose aim is for power, not principle.

    This article by Sowell is so wrong in so many ways, I’m still counting them.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I noticed the article, but didn’t read it then (I get Sowell’s articles in The Conservative Chronicle and generally wait for it). I do consider him unfair, but I would also caution against reading anyone out of the movement over one article you don’t like (and his basic hostility to Cruz doesn’t please me either, unless he provides a persuasive argument for why he considers his stances insincere). Ultimately, Sowell’s concern is tactical, though it is disappointing that so many conservatives are so willing to give the Beltway Bandits a pass.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Timothy, it’s the maximum of hubris for Sowell to suggest that Cruz is insincere when the Republican Establishment has made that their middle name.

      Now, it well could be that Cruz — if push comes to shove — is all bluff and bluster, that he wouldn’t vote to repeal Obamacare if he actually had the chance. But he’s one of the few making noises about doing so. Does anyone seriously believe that the Republican Establishment is this principled set of conservatives who will repeal Obamacare (and other statists intrusions) if given power? They don’t even bother to use the power they have now.

      Masturbation is a more productive endeavor than voting in and then apologizing for this endless stream of RINO Republicans who promise to repeal Obamacare (and other things) in order to get elected and then do no such thing.

      Every article on National Review should be about how the Republican Party has helped to sell out the Constitution. For Sowell to post this ridiculous article blaming Cruz for the problems of this country (and this party) is just bizarre.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      “Ultimately, Sowell’s concern is tactical, though it is disappointing that so many conservatives are so willing to give the Beltway Bandits a pass.”

      This is a very familiar phrase. Strangely enough, according to the tacticians it is the Tea Party, constitutional and social conservatives who are required to give up their positions for the “tactical” gain of the RINOs.

      Sowell’s attack on Cruz is something which I would not expect from the good Dr. I have met and heard Cruz speak. And while I am skeptical of all politicians, I must say the man has one outstanding quality which is something the arm chair warriors such as Dr. Sowell don’t seem to understand, HE WILL FIGHT. This is something the Rep statists in D.C. won’t do. Frankly, I hope Cruz is looking out for himself and is successful in his efforts. If he is only half honest and does only a quarter of what he says, we will be ten times better off than otherwise.

      Conservatives are sick of being treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild. We are not ashamed of our country and will not go softly into that goodnight America, which the RINOs seem to want just as much as the Dems.

      I would also be happy to give the Dr. a little history lesson on German politics during the Weimar period. It wasn’t as if there were only two political parties in Germany. In the November 1932 election the Nazis received about 33% of the vote. Their main opponents the SPD received about 20%. There were four other parties which received enough votes to have representatives in the Reichstag.

      Hitler had no automatic right to become Chancellor. That he finally did was due to the back room machinations of the “elites” around Hindenburg. They thought that once Hitler was in power and he was held responsible for what was going on in the country that he would lose popularity. I think the Rep establishment types have shown about as much intelligence as von Papen and his cronies.

      All in all, Sowell’s comparison is a poor one even if Obama is the one being compared to Hitler.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        According to Jamie Weinstein at the Daily Caller, Sowell’s second article pointed out that the GOP establishment needs to learn and understand WHY Cruz resonates so well among grassroots voters. This mitigates my disappointment with the original article. We must remember that, as Sam Rayburn once observed: If two people agree on everything, one of them is doing all the thinking for both. No one does my thinking for me, and I certainly don’t do anyone else’s thinking, so I have to expect occasionally to disagree with everyone, even Dr. Sowell.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          “as Sam Rayburn once observed: If two people agree on everything, one of them is doing all the thinking for both.”

          It wasn’t only that he disagreed with Cruz, it was how he framed the article.

          1. The somewhat disingenuous way he compared Cruz to Obama without so much as an iota of proof that Cruz would be as dishonest as Obama.
          2. Accuses Cruz of undermining the Reps. but doesn’t mention the RINOs undermining conservatives.
          3. Accusing Cruz of wanting to weaken the Reps in the short term for long term gain. How about the possibility that Cruz understands the fact that the RINOs are presently undermining themselves and the country by their present course and that Cruz is trying to save them from themselves?
          4. Accusing Cruz and those of us who support him of being too stupid to understand the need to compromise as otherwise we might get the Nazis.
          5. Not understanding his comparison of 1932 and the Nazis’ gradual gain of power is more applicable to the establish Reps and D.C. types who are saying they should get out of the way and let Obama destroy himself. It was exactly the establishment types in 1933 Germany who thought they should get out of the way and let Hitler destroy himself. Look what happened.

          Disagreement is one thing, but this article was pretty despicable. Dr. Sowell was either uninformed or dishonest. I am surprised Sowell could produce such drivel.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Well said, Mr. Kung.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            My point in quoting Rayburn was to point out that, although I probably agree with Sowell a higher percent of the time than most columnists (though Dennis Prager may be even higher), I disagree with him occasionally. It was never intended as a defense of what he said.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Strangely enough, according to the tacticians it is the Tea Party, constitutional and social conservatives who are required to give up their positions for the “tactical” gain of the RINOs.

        Exactly, Mr. Kung. As one astute fellow (miket) at NRO said:

        Perhaps Mr. Sowell should have explained how he arrived at the conclusion that it is Ted Cruz, and not John Boehner & Co, who is the cause of the rift in the Republican party. Why should they not join him rather than vise versa?

        And good point about Cruz being willing to fight. That’s something the vast majority of the GOP will not do. They keep claiming that all that is needed is for conservatives to stop embarrassing the party so that the GOP can get a majority — then supposedly they’ll start dismantling the welfare state.

        There is a much better chance of me going to heaven and Jesus cleansing me of my sins than there is of the GOP Establishment ever picking a serious fight with Democrats and the welfare state.

        In this instance, Sowell is willfully blind for whatever reason.

        From a sociological point of view (and I don’t know if there is a proper word for this), what we are starting to see more and more is the human mind adjusting to the status quo and normalizing it. Jonah has done so. Cooke is in the midst of doing so. Now it’s Sowell’s turn. No one who has even the slightest grasp on what has occurred in this nation and the Republican Party the last 30 years could do anything but laugh at the idea that the real problem is those Tea Bagger types.

        Goodness, with friends such as Sowell, who needs enemies? I may actual consider taking him down from the StubbornThings hall of fame. Any nominations out there for who should take his place?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I wouldn’t remove him after one bad column (particularly if, as Weinstein says, the second on the subject mitigates the offense considerably). But two people worth adding are Mark Steyn and Ann Coulter. Whatever their flaws, they do fight back against the liberals.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Thanks for the suggestions, Timothy, Either Coulter or Steyn rate mentioning in the conservative media hall of fame. But they don’t yet quite rise to the level of being a patron saint of StubbornThings

            Buckley is there because he is one of the people who re-ignited conservatism. Reagan and Thatcher are no-brainers.

            But Sowell is out. He will be de-inducted as soon as I get to a computer that will allow me to do so. It’s not a fit of petulance. It’s a principled stand. There is no way I can sell this site as a beyond-the-beltway conservative site dedicated to thinking beyond groupthink, narrow cliques, and socialist Orwellianism and have Sowell be a patron saint. The disease of the GOP is people apologizing for all its abuses, weaknesses, and cowardice. Enough.

            So, I’ll still take nominations, but the new inductee will likely come from one of the following names: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus of Nazareth, John Wayne, or Booker T. Washington. If anyone wants to suggest some others, please do so.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I’m not familiar with him, but an article by Jack Kerwick available today on Town Hall recommended for Black History Month the writer George Schuyler, a distinguished writer who was also a black conservative (hence his doubt that we would ever see any mention of him anywhere else). One problem with so many distant past figures (and Lincoln died nearly 150 years ago) is that “conservative” doesn’t really mean the same thing it did then. But Washington, who often gets mocked by liberals (like so many of the Founders) but whose qualities (especially his rejection of continuing power) were crucial in making America what it is, certainly would be an excellent choice anyway.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I think you know that the greatest man of, at least, the last 1,000 years, Washington, would be my choice.

              I just picked up a book by Jeff Shaara, about the Revolution titled “The Glorious Cause”. It has an excellent introduction, clear and concise, on the why and how the Revolution began and several of the main players involved, including Washington.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    As regards the influence of Tea Party types and other despicable conservatives, I am happy to report they are alive and well. I would even go so far as to say they are thriving and organized for action.

    I moved back to Texas in 2000 and have voted in almost every election since, including those for school board, county commissioners and other very local offices.

    Over those years, I have seen the county government become more conservative and while we still have some RINO’s, they are getting scarce. Even so, I have never seen the organization by conservative groups that I have seen for this primary season. While I have always received mailers from individual candidates, I have never received so many mailings from Tea Party and other avowed conservative groups as this year.

    These mailings give lists of candidates which each group supports in the primary. The offices covered include those of the highest such as governor, Ag Commissioner, Supreme Court of Texas, appellate court judges and state reps.

    Luckily, Collin county is so conservative that once a Republican candidate wins the primary, he has won the race as Dems often don’t even contest many offices here.

    When my wife and I voted today, there was one Dem voter and something like six Rep voters at the polling place.

    Another piece of potentially good news was that Dallas county Dems have been late in setting up polling places for the March primary. Let’s hope Dems in the rest of the country are as efficient.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Would that Jefferson County was an equal success story. Unfortunately, it isn’t and never will be given that it’s basically a large urban area (i.e., Louisville) with all the usual Democrat pressure groups. (When Anne Northup ran for Congress in 1996 against incumbent Michael Ward, I thought she was a good candidate but didn’t have a chance to win. Fortunately, I was wrong about that last part. Elizabeth and I had a Northup sign every year — and put up a fair number of them ourselves (though never in our precinct, as it happens.)

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Thanks for the book recommendation, Mr. Kung. I have added The Glorious Cause to the Bookshelf. I also downloaded the Kindle sample of it. Perhaps I shall take a look at that as soon as I am done with my latest Allan Quatermain novel (yes, I’ve started another one).

    The problem with George Washington is that he doesn’t belong in a Hall of Fame. He is a Hall of Fame. We’ll have to do something special for him sometime.

    But in the meantime, I’ve drafted Booker T. Washington into the Hall of Fame. It was a close contest between him and John Wayne.

    Timothy makes a great point that 150 years ago (or later), the idea of “conservative” doesn’t mean what it does today, if it meant anything at all. But neither did they have a Marxist (aka “Progressive”) movement in Revolutionary America. So “conservative” contains many of the same values held by Washington (they could hardly be contrary), while having an active arm which is anti-socialism — something there was no pressing need for 150 years ago.

    But although I consider myself a conservative, I’m not only that. I am also the brother of Booker T. Washington. And, I think it’s good that we worry about the plight of the black man in this country. If Booker were alive today, perhaps he would title his autobiography “Up from the Democrat Party.”

    Booker T. Washington is conservative through and through in regards to the values of: 1) hard work, 2) the value of a good education, 3) family, 4) religion, 5) conciliation instead of grievance.

    In effect, Washington was about education and work, not grievance and welfare. He was plain-spoken although highly educated. Sign him up….so I did.

    And in the spirit of variety (and certainly not “diversity,” which I despise — to treat people as mere fashion statements is contrary to the dignity of men), I think it’s appropriate to have another black man in that hall of fame spot. If we are to break the back of socialism, grievance, and the evil of dependency, we need black people to join us. And Booker T. espouses values that all Americans can proudly adopt.

    But people such as Boehner can suck my left [expletive delete]. I love this spirited and frank article by J. Robert Smith: GOP Leaders Won’t Escape Conservative Voter’s Wrath.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, I have (and have read) Washington’s memoir, so I won’t object to his choice. I’ve also read a couple of biographies of his most famous faculty member at Tuskegee, George Washington Carver. (Elizabeth, granddaughter of the founder of the Carver School of Social Work that moved from Southern Baptist Seminary a few years ago, thinks she may be related to the Carvers who owned young George.)

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, I just read the second of Sowell’s columns about Cruz, and (as the Daily Caller yesterday suggested) it takes a very different tone. Sowell, like Ann Coulter, expresses a concern that intra-party division will interfere with taking the Senate — and no matter how much we might wish otherwise, only by acquiring political power can conservatives get rid of any of Obama’s excrescences. I sympathize, particularly in terms of the waste of scarce resources (the DSCC significantly outraised the RSCC last year), though I do think some primarying (e.g., of Lindsey Graham) is necessary to provide some salutary examples.

    But Sowell also points out that the GOP has been extremely poor at articulating its message, which Cruz does very well — hence his popularity with grassroots conservatives. It would be better if Sowell went further and admitted that the grassroots conservatives have very good reason to suspect that GOP Beltway Bandits have little use for them, but his point (which he supports by citing Boehner’s feckless failure to express the GOP message leaving the Spite House during the shutdown “crisis”) is still quite accurate. He concludes that Cruz is filling a void that the GOP Establishment created.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      But Sowell also points out that the GOP has been extremely poor at articulating its message, which Cruz does very well — hence his popularity with grassroots conservatives.

      Surely this is so because they don’t believe in the message. The truth of the matter is that far too many of these Republicans do not oppose the Left because either they don’t disagree with it or they are afraid to disagree with it, having taken the lay of the land and assumed that because socialism is what people want, therefore it cannot be opposed.

      This is the reality of today’s GOP. Thus when someone actually starts opposing the Left (Palin, Cruz, whomever), the GOP Establishment reflexively comes out with their de rigueur statements of warning (often using their mouthpieces in the so-called conservative media) to caution about not being too brash or “divisive” lest it hurt the chances for the GOP to win elections when supposedly they will then get to work rolling back Leviathan.

      But that day never comes. It’s just an empty promise. This con is about as big as the con of socialism itself. If Thomas Sowell wants to feed into this delusion, that’s his business. But if we get wrapped up in this deceitful dynamic then we become as pathetic as Charlie Brown who every year thinks this will be the year that Lucy will hold the football still for him to kick.

      And if Cruz filled a void that the GOP establishment created, then what was yesterday’s article? Frankly, I’m tired of Sowell’s BS. What needs to be said by supposed conservative commentators is fairly straightforward: If you want to defend and promote America, as founded, then the GOP Establishment (which simply wants to run Leviathan, not pare it back) must be opposed and the Ted Cruzes of the world must be supported with earnestness.

      It is ostensibly the job of National Review to simply and clearly explain conservative principles and support conservative causes. Their job is not to apologize for the statists and obstructionists and fortune-seekers who dominate the GOP in the House and Senate. Their job is not to go along with this bizarre sort of Kabuki theatre wherein we imagine that Paul Ryan is a fiscal conservative and John Boehner is a brave soldier doing all he can under the circumstances.

      The truth of the matter is most Republicans do not oppose the Left because they do not believe in conservatism. If it is simply a matter that they do not know how to articulate conservatism, then that is the job of think-tanks and the conservative media. But too often this media has failed in this capacity as well. Let’s give Mark Levin, VDH, Mark Steyn and perhaps a few others credit, but too many in this media simply spin words to fill word quotas and/or they over-intellectualize as they, for all practical purposes, compare penis sizes with other intellectualoid commentators as they compete for composing esoterica and the arcane into the kind of “publish or perish” articles and books that makes ones eyes glaze over. They become irrelevant and more than a bit too full of themselves.

      Whether talking Cruz or Palin, anyone who boldly faces down the Left will tend to be opposed by this GOP establishment crowd because such people implicitly show them up as the feeble and disingenuous actors that they are. People such as Palin and Cruz are walking, talking advertisements of the emasculation of so much of the conservative and Republican cause.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      While I am also concerned that inter-party bickering may interfere with taking the Senate, I am of the opinion that the division is more a result of the establishment Reps not listening to their constituents than it is of Ted Cruz’s ego. Whatever else one may say about Cruz, there is no doubt that he is expressing the thoughts and desires of a large percentage of the conservative base. Now, it is simply a fact that the RINO’s have not been responsive to the base so what else is the base to do except push for people like Ted Cruz? So Cruz’s actions are not “unjustified” as Sowell maintains.

      As to Sowell’s criticisms of the establishment Reps, he really soft soaps these. It isn’t merely that they don’t articulate a vision. It’s the fact that the f*@kers have no vision other than maintaining their positions and perks. Oh, I forgot they also write laws and give access to the fat cats in finance, lobbying, etc who keep the campaign funds coming and provide lucrative sinecures for the Honorable Members once they leave office.

      And Sowell hints at this when he says the Rep establishment appear to have no principals to articulate. Who then is worse, Cruz who speaks for principals yet may be politically ambitious, or the Rep establishment who have no principals?

      I think we will all agree that it is the later. Why did Sowell go out of his way to vilify Cruz when he virtually admits the Rep establishment have no principals? If this is the case, what do we have to lose by supporting Cruz? Sowell’s whole argument is full of holes.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I basically agree, which is why I found even the second article a bit disappointing, and pointed out the desirability of at least a few successful primaries against incumbents “to encourage the others” (and I wonder how many ordinary people today know where that phrase comes from). But we don’t want to go too far and expend too much funding on fighting each other. Even a bad Republican (i.e., most of them, especially in the leadership) isn’t as bad as ANY Democrat.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It isn’t merely that they don’t articulate a vision. It’s the fact that the f*@kers have no vision other than maintaining their positions and perks

        Exactly.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Another point which needs to be made is that the conservatives generally support the Rep candidate even if he is a moderate, as long as they have had their chance in the primary. Note how many “moderate” establishment Rep types refuse to support the conservative candidate. Charlie Crist is just the most obnoxious example of this. During the 2012 elections, there were a number of so-called Reps, who lost their primaries and refused to support the Rep winner. This happened in the Virginia governor race and in several other races.

      Ted Cruz did not happen in a vacuum. I am all for “primarying” any Rep incumbent any time. I will then support the winner against any Dem.

  6. steve lancaster says:

    The most important thing Sowell said has been the least mentioned”The Republican establishment has more than a tactical deficiency, however. They seem to have no principle that they offer or follow with any consistency. Their lack of articulation may be just a reflection of that lack of principle. It is hard to get to the point when you have no point to get to.”

    I suggest that using Cruz as a foil what he really is doing is attacking the RINO’S in the house and senate; is anyone in the leadership listening?

  7. Timothy Lane says:

    An article by Rebecca Hagelin, available from yesterday’s Town Hall listings (which can still be accessed today) includes the website on which one can comment on the proposed IRS regulation 134417-13 (the change in rules for 501c4 organizations to provide retroactive legalization of their anti-conservative discrimination). I just used that to make a comment opposing the proposal. Hagelin suggested that as many conservatives as possible should do so before the February 27 deadline. This seems as good a place as any to mention it, since Hagelin’s article can be considered a nice contrast with so many others (including Sowell’s).

  8. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, I just read Sowell’s latest column, which uses the Dunkirk evacuation (the third-largest mass evacuation by sea of World War II, the second-largest being the post-Dunkirk evacuation of British troops and others from France and the largest being the 1945 German withdrawal of 1.5 million troops and civilians from the eastern shores of the Baltic back to Germany) by analogy to support the establishment surrender on the debt issue.

    He isn’t totally wrong; it was indeed a certainty that a clean debt ceiling was going to pass. However, a debt ceiling with something like getting rid of the risk corridor insurance bailout would at least have forced Reidistan Democrats to make a very embarrassing and unpopular vote. This failure, at least according to some sources, may well be the fault of House Tea Partiers who refused to vote for any debt ceiling at all, even one with such a poison pill. But Sowell is still exercised at Cruz, who isn’t at fault for the House failure.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I just read the first part of Sowell’s article using the Dunkirk analogy.

      First let me say he is factually wrong on several of his statements about Dunkirk. I expect someone like him to either know his subject or do a little homework to get the facts right.

      Second, he says symbolism is not worth it in war and politics. This is absolute nonsense. Why was the loss of a Legion’s “Aquila” so important that battles would be fought to reclaim them after being lost? Why is oratory, the politicians’ verbal weapon, so full of flowery analogies, high-flying rhetoric and, yes, symbols, if symbolism isn’t worth it? Ever heard of the”City On The Hill” speech?

      I am glad you noticed that Sowell bitches at Cruz, while it was the House that had the fight with Obama on the shut-down.

      I have always thought Sowell intelligent, but his analogies, comparisons and history are incorrect, wide of the mark and downright silly. If he wishes to criticize Cruz, fine, but he is making himself look foolish with this series of articles. Perhaps he is just getting old.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        What a gonzo-ass stupid article by Sowell. Here’s my response to it:

        The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France, and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime. 

        Wrong analogy. The analogy (constructed thusly) would be Hitler threatening to fire V2 rockets if the Brits try to advance and free Europe of national socialism — that era’s “debt ceiling,” if you will.

        What the British did was battle on despite the fact that they would have to take some losses. Dunkirk was just one tactical move in a prolonged war. But the ends were clear. But it is not at all clear that the Establishment Republicans (who are always counseling us to “wait for better weather”) even think that they are in a battle at all…unless that battle is with conservatives and the Tea Party.

        Our battle today is against American socialism. Instead of forever giving weak apologies for why the battle forever must be tomorrow, not today, we must…well, to quote someone who had a stomach for facing long odds:

        We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

        Contrast that with what animates Sowell who now appears to have the mindset of an Establishment Republican. The day we fight the Left is not today. The day never comes. We are forever marshaling our forces, never quite having enough, and waiting for perfect sunshine before we hit the beaches of Normandy.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Steve McCann at American Thinker has an article that intersects on this general subject: The Curse of the Sanctimonious Class. He makes many good points, including this astute observation:

    By 1992 the baby-boom generation was becoming the dominant influence in the nation as the World War II generation had begun to fade into history.  Having been the beneficiaries of unprecedented peace and prosperity for nearly 45 years, many had become single issue true-believers.  To these self-righteous narcissists nothing was more important than their cause — whether that issue was environmentalism, abortion on demand, drug legalization, disarmament, gay rights, social justice or a laundry list of other lifestyle concerns.     

    As the Democratic Party increasingly fell under the thrall of the Left and their core strategy of the end justifying the means, the Party hierarchy came out in vocal support of all of these causes in the knowledge that these true-believers would not care about who they were voting for or the end game of permanently seizing all political power, as long as lip service was paid to their issues.  Combining these myopic groups with those wholly dependent on government, as well as the monolithic African-American vote, gave the Democratic Party a significant and reliable voting base.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think he gets to the heart of the matter as he seems to think it’s about too much apathy amongst those who typically vote Republican. I must confess, I’ve gained quite a lot of apathy regarding the party over the last ten years or so because they is not much to vote for as opposed to just voting against the Marxist/Leftist offered up by the other party.

    And I no longer buy the idea that 60% of America is “center-right.” The truth of the matter is that we have become a narcissistic mob of entitled grievance-mongers. The “New Man” that the Left has always wanted to produce has been produced, and he is a shallow, vulgar, thoughtless man who, as long as he has his Soma, will keep voting against the hobgoblins constructed by the media, the universities, and the Democrat Party.

    This situation is exacerbated by the cowardice of the Republicans. They don’t even attempt to provide an alternative. Like much of the rest of the population, they think no further than today. As long as the money flows and they are comfortable, they don’t care much about anything else.

    The culture has been eaten out by socialism and by the mindset and moralset that goes with it. And to point out the cravenness and poisonous opportunism of this establishment doesn’t make me or Ted Cruz a bad guy.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The book The Right Nation noted that modern liberalism had pretty much descended to two things: a basic cry of rage combined with a collection of single-issue zealots. We could add the dependent class (to be precise, those who vote for a living), but they represent not so much active liberals as passive ones — combined leeches and sheep.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Mona Charen joins the ranks of the duped or complicit Establishment Republicans in joining the chorus dumping on Cruz: Cruz Aims at His Own Side — Again.

    On the other hand, Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator has a superb article on the matter: Ted Cruz Majority which includes this sage observation.

    Aside from asking what else Cruz should have done — he was, after all, elected to the Senate in the first place promising to do exactly what he’s doing — it is to be reminded that Cruz was following exactly Ronald Reagan’s winning strategy in this kind of situation. Back there in the stone age of 1987, when the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats, a Clean Water bill, trumpeted as an environmental must, was sent to Reagan’s desk. Reagan thought the bill loaded with pork, and said so. Not only did he say so — drawing a rebuke on the House floor for supporting pollution, wanting dirty air and water, etc. — he promised a veto. On February 3, House Republicans were called in to the White House and Reagan requested their support of his veto. He was told that the votes weren’t there, that his veto was doomed to be overridden — and it was.But as Reagan later that night wrote in his diary:

    “A meeting with Repub. Cong. Leadership. I pitched a plan that they stand together so that even with Dem’s out voting us we can point out to the people how different the Dems and Repubs are. I don’t think they got the message. In the House today only 26 Republicans supported my Veto of the Clean Water Bill.”

    In other words? Just as Ted Cruz knew he couldn’t stop the debt ceiling increase, Ronald Reagan knew he couldn’t stop his Clean Water veto from being overridden. Democrats had the votes. But as was true throughout his active political life, Reagan believed it was important to draw a line in the sand so “we can point out to the people how different the Dems and Repubs are.” Reagan — and the GOP — were amply rewarded for this strategy.

    Deana has an excellent article today at American Thinker that intersects with this general subject in which she espouses a full-throated, non-namby-pamby conservatism that believes in something more than middle-gray, craven, centrist mush: Going Somewhere Dangerous.

    Who needs Mona Charen when you have Dee? The very premise of this site is that your quote “average” American has much more to offer than the beltway crowd. And so it is proven once again.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    By coincidence (well, not really by coincidence….it’s Black History Month, whatever the hell that means), Simon de Hundehutte (what a last name) has a good article about our new hall-of-famer: Black (and White) History Lessons from Booker T. Washington.

    Long story short, Booker T. believed in work and education rather than grievance and victimhood. And one of his quotes, as pointed out by califjim, was:

    “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

    I doubt you’ll hear that quote during “Black History Month.” And you gain some appreciation that this kind of grievance politics is not a new invention. But nonetheless, Booker T. Washington showed the correct (and Christian, by the way) path out of what was a truly horrible situation. The light shines in the darkness. What a shame that this light has been filtered and dimmed with liberal white guilt and black institutionalized grievance. That ain’t the way.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Washington was probably talking about W. E. B. DuBois, who was very much the grievance-seeker.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        You read my mind.

      • faba calculo says:

        The contrast of Washington and DuBois is an interesting one. The former focused more on economic equality while the latter pushed more for political equality. This difference over emphasis was mirrored more recently in the battle for female equality in Kuwait. Women couldn’t vote but were becoming the majority in colleges. While the lack of the right to vote rankled, their attitude seemed to be one of “if we become economically equal, political equality will certainly come”. They seem to have been proven right, as suffrage came not much later.

        But with blacks in the US, I’m not sure the case was so cut and dried. Washington seemed to have been too optimistic vis a vis how ready the South was to accept black empowerment of any form, and race relations may have not reached their nadir until almost the end of his life, arguably supporting DuBois’s claim that economic opportunity absolutely could not be obtained and protected without the vote.

        Still, on a personal level, almost everyone suffers when compared to Washington. Whenever I make my list of true heroes, the core generally consists of George Washington, John Adams, Booker T. Washington, and my father.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      “de Hundehutte (what a last name)”

      What is wrong with combining the French de with German Hundehutte? What one arrives at is an aristocratic dog house.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I knew you’d come through with a translation. I knew the “Hund” part of it as German. And the “hutte” certain does resemble “Hause” or even “hut.” But it didn’t seem plausible to me that you’d have a formalized family name that meant “doghouse.” And I thought “Schmaltz” was a bad name but this one is even funnier.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Doghouse touches upon it somewhat in his article. But it’s interesting to note how many of the black pastors opposed Booker T in his own time. But righteous furry was just not a part of his vocabulary. Washington was more for incremental improvement (which was self-evidently necessary). Washington understood that it was necessary for former slaves to become educated in order to function not only for themselves but to take their place in a democratic society.

        One of the Hall of Fame quotes I used for him was “It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of those privileges.” However, Du Boise (gauging by this Wiki article) had no patience for practical considerations. He wanted full political rights now for black people.

        And we see how blacks very early became mere chattel for the self-aggrandizement of the race hustlers or, as we call them today, “civil rights leaders.” And that’s not to say that full civil rights wasn’t a worthy goal. But what Booker T. understood at the time was that black men didn’t need a piece of paper declaring rights. They needed to know, first and foremost, how to support themselves and become a part of the community. As Booker T. often said, and I paraphrase, if a man can offer something of value to another man via the product of his industry, he will find friends.

        Booker surely understood the poisonous nature of the top-down grievance industry as epitomized by Du Bois, thus that one quote by Washington that is a relevant to Du Bois in his time as it is to Jesse Jackson or Pastor Wright in our time.

        Note: That Wiki article said that Du Bois was educated at Harvard. Thar’s yer problem.

  12. John Kirke John Kirke says:

    It’s hard to draw any conclusions about Sowell’s recent articles that don’t paint him in a bad light — “duped or complicit” is the first sort of thing that comes to my mind — but earlier this month he did write strongly against the GOP Establishment’s toying with amnesty, warning that “Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats, while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.”

    The only thing is, I think he’s much more caustic about Ted Cruz even though Boehner’s hints at amnesty are pointing to a far more catastrophic result for the party and the country.

    Just this last month, we’ve seen writer after writer at NRO rolling over for the ruling class, with Charles Cooke writing, “In my estimation, the only thing[!!] of which Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have been guilty in the past few years is to have worked tirelessly within political reality and to have reacted sensitively to the hands that they were dealt.”

    Jim Geraghty thinks that Chris Christie’s implosion is paving the way for Jeb Bush, of all people, and writing at The American Spectator, NR mainstay Jay Nordlinger preens about being a Republican, how he cannot grasp how people can complain that there’s too little difference between the two parties: “It’s fine for us conservatives to sit around grousing about the Republican party, which is how we spend 90 percent of our time, but who’s going to get into the arena and engage in the difficult work of politics, which involves a million concessions?”

    Whether Thomas Sowell is just repeating the conventional wisdom or not — which is what I think he does more in writing about politics rather than policy — the net effect is that these writers are showing us what really worries DC Republicans.

    It’s not the Democrats in DC, it’s the conservatives across the country that really terrify them. All the Dems can do is keep them down as junior partners in Leviathan, Inc.

    We’re the ones who can really render them irrelevant.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      …have been guilty in the past few years is to have worked tirelessly within political reality…

      That’s such a weak comment by Cooke. He should know that “political reality” is very must changed according to the bravery, pluck, and eloquence of the promoter of whatever cause or law. The fact is, the Republicans (with a few exceptions, such as Cruz) haven’t even tried to move the ball down the field. The “political reality” is their never-ending excuse for doing nothing but going with the flow — Democrats Lite, as they say.

      It’s hard to believe that such normally thoughtful men as Cooke or Sowell could be so, well, stupid. I don’t know what else to call it.

      God help us from either Chris Christie or Jeb Bush is all I can say. As for Jay Nordlinger, I guess he can join the growing list of beltway boobs. If Nordlinger is not familiar with that gigantic gravimetric pull called “statism,” then what is he doing commenting at National Review? In many regards, there isn’t a hair’s breadth of difference between the two parties, at least at the national level.

      Thanks for the great post, John. You’re sort of like our roving reporter. I like that. 🙂

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Just out of curiosity, what do you think of Cooke’s defense of including American Atheists at CPAC that just appeared at NRO?

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Well, in my opinion, Cooke is a bit of a fool for not recognizing that atheism is a grievance-based identity (hatred of god, if you will). To me, this is self-evident. Experience has proven this out time after time.

          And atheism and conservatism are not compatible. Oh, I don’t mean that you have to be a bible-thumping Jesus Freak (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But without a firm orientation in a philosophy rooted in something other than the ego or the state (or even the intellect), there is no conservatism. There is only a kind of ego-based clever solipsism where the particularly intelligent use those 10 lbs. of brain mass to weave nice-sounding stories, all based in an unwarranted trust in man’s nature.

          I’ll go back and read the article fully if I have the time, but those are my initial impressions.

          And regarding atheism itself, I’ve made the distinction (in theory) that there is atheism, the metaphysical presupposition, and atheism the identity. The former needn’t be liberal, conservative, or anything else. The latter is almost always an admixture of socialism, Paulbotism, and Leftism. But no conservative could, with a straight face, declare himself to be an atheist.

          And I say that as an often-doubting agnostic. But even atheism as a metaphysical presupposition is so weak (if one can extricate it from the cultural identity and politics that are usually the entire gist of it) that I’d be embarrassed to make such a declaration. God is great, and certainly obscure, but consciousness could not arise from a mere material and random cause.

          I would be highly suspicious of someone who said they were a conservative and also an atheist. There are a lot of people running around calling themselves “conservative” (such as Mitt Romney) who haven’t the barest idea what that is.

          Cooke made some libertarian-like “thought” arguments….which tends to be what I consider the hollow strength of the intellectual class. And to say that one could find an atheist conservative is to say nothing except that the exception proves the rule.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            One way to explain that is by differentiating between atheism (a general belief that there is no god) and militant atheism (which is a leftist identity politics group whose particular enemy is open Christians). The former can be conservative (as Cooke said), but the latter (which is the public face of atheism) can’t.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I agree with that distinction, Tim. And I was just shooting from the hip.

              But it’s one thing to posit that you can find a conservative atheist. I’m sure there is an albino zebra somewhere in Africa. It’s another to suppose this to be a common, significant or indeed a real thing. I’m afraid I’ve just become much too jaded regarding the mental musings of libertarians and atheists. They tend to be very good at being able to count how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but have very little regard for the rubber-meets-the-road types of realities where issues are actually resolved, one way or the other.

              And for Cooke to not understand the basic underpinnings of atheism is like Jonah not recognizing that there is more to gay marriage than just gays getting married. I would not let an atheist booth set up at CPAC, no matter how one’s heartstrings are pulled by “diversity.”

              Sorry, it sucks sometimes to have to draw lines in the sand (that is, to “stand athwart”). But this shtick of “tolerance,” while it plays to self-aggrandizement, doesn’t play well when it comes to asserting truly conservative politics.

              Atheism is a rejection of a moral order apart from the mind of man. How then atheism can be compatible with conservatism can happen only in the minds of clever and verbose intellectuals.

              I’m not a Christian, nor do I play one on TV, but I agree that this religion, properly practiced, is our only salvation in terms of rolling back the socialist state. If there is no more to life than material “free stuff,” then there is no buttress against statism. And all these words and ideas will fall on deaf ears regarding atheists. In practice, much like libertarians, it is a useless philosophy in terms of actually instituting the types of personal morals necessary for ordered liberty and limited government to be established and secured.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, the choice they want us to face is a large behemoth run by the donkey ticket and a slightly smaller one run by the GOP. We would prefer that there be no behemoth at all. The Mad parody of The Sand Pebbles ended with the two main characters talking about democracy for the Chinese — and then getting shot down by Mao and Chiang, who only agree on opposing that concept. The Beltway Bandits feel the same way about seriously shrinking the behemoth.

  13. John Kirke John Kirke says:

    Was in the middle of a lengthy fisking of Cooke’s article, and it became its own blog post, here.

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