A StubbornThings Symposium 1/26/16
Latest: Patching the Leaks by Timothy Lane • Introduction • This symposium (open to one and all…just send in your thoughtful contributions) is about what it will take to fix what the Left has broken. And that’s making the very large assumption that fixing is still possible. Read on to see who are the optimists and who are the pessimists.
— The Editor
Fixing the Hole in the Boat
I’m writing this with a great deal of pessimism. I honestly think the United States is too far gone to be saved, and there is nothing left to do but enjoy the ride to the bottom. My advice to young people would be “Don’t have children.”
That represents my thinking probably three quarters of the time, but now and then I get a glimmer of optimism and think about what could be done. Pessimism/realism often comes back and I think that only a tremendous shock to the system could save us. That could be the collapse of our debt financing house of cards, a massive wave of terrorist attacks or “refugee” brutality, a nasty military conflict with China or Russia, or the use of nukes by Iran or North Korea in a way that somehow directly affects us. If any of those things were to occur while the US is still functional and able to cope, the wakeup call could conceivably jolt the leftist culture far enough toward reality to permit some serious reforms. I have my doubts.
But let’s work from the dubious proposition that something can be done. What would it be? What, as Brad Nelson recently said we should do, is plugging the hole in the ship, and not just rearranging deck chairs?
I don’t think I would get a lot of disagreement here by stating that our biggest problem right now is a lack of a functioning conservative political party. Without that, any sort of positive change is impossible. Probably north of 80% of current republican legislators should be kicked out in the primaries – almost without regard to who would take their place. The republican* party has to be destroyed, or shaken so hard that they cannot forget who they are supposed to be serving. Until this group can be brought under the control of its constituents, nothing else can be done.
Let’s say that we get some representatives willing to work for us, then what? The priorities get a lot more murky. Going back to Brad’s image of repairing the hole in the side of the ship, it may not be so much that there is a hole, but that the entire side has corroded, leaving a few large holes and a tenuous, leaky web only suggestive of what used to be the side.
The immigration situation is one of the larger, more distinct holes. Fortunately, it is also one that has aroused a bit of passion in the electorate. And to some extent, that passion is on both sides of the aisle. In the useful idiot wing of the democratic party, working class black people and union members are in a position to directly feel the pain from the Mexican invasion. And it may be that high tech workers will soon wake up as well. So much has been written on this topic that I don’t need to add anything, except to point out that it is an area of common ground where we may be able to show some of the other side that there is a better way.
Then we have a long list of severe problems that all need to be dealt with. In no particular order, and not exhaustively: the education system, massive deficit spending, stifling bureaucracy, the utter lack of domestic manufacturing capacity, the entitlement mentality, and increasing international irrelevance/impotence. All of these things are quite broad and intertwined. What is in common with most of them, is that they are caused by the attitude of looking to the federal government as a universal problem solver, rather than as a universal problem causer. I don’t think there is anything to be done, except to tackle these one by one and push things back to where they need to go. It would be a long, hard fight and I frankly don’t think the American electorate has the attention span to keep the pressure on.
One last thing I’ll mention is Mark Levin’s “Liberty Ammendments.” If you are unfamiliar with his proposal, they are a group of constitutional ammendments that seek to provide more concrete and practical reforms than my proposed “No, seriously, we mean what we wrote.” ammendment. Specifically, they are a package of term limits, limitations to the supreme court, and limitations to bureaucratic rule making. They could be very helpful at pushing back and holding back the leftist tide. Certainly term limits have a lot of popular support, but unfortunately Levin hasn’t yet created much of a movement.
(*I realize that “republican” and “democrat” should be capitalized when refering to political parties. I choose to e.e. cummings them as a sign of disrespect.)
— Bell Phillips is an old-style American…the kind who built this country and the kind the barbarians are now trying to blame for not having yet produced Utopia.
Unbelieving man has made culture his guidepost. The idea of “fixing” is now thoroughly fixed in the general mind to mean that it is the outward things that must be fixed. “Society” must be fixed, formed, and shaped.
Indeed, the forms our societies take are enormously important in influencing the quality of life, of freedom, and of justice. But conservative man, while acknowledging this, does not attribute to “society” omnipotence. Good people live in bad societies and bad people live in good societies.
What the conservative man understands is that the fixing needs to come first and foremost from within. Instead of living with our maladies and trying to normalize them (and our sins) by reshaping society in such a way so that those maladies and sins are considered normal, conservative man sits down and puts his own house in order. Through discipline, hard work, practice, faith, honest evaluation, and perseverance, he smooths the rough edges on himself before even thinking about what changes “society” may need.
That mature and time-tested attitude is virtually gone these days. So when Bell brought up this subject of fixing the hole in the boat that is our culture, I didn’t laugh in his face. Nor need I have done so…he is no more optimistic than I am. But it was tempting to do so. Those who believe in values other than the vapid and squishy idea of “social justice” are now in the minority. We are, for all intents and purposes, living behind enemy lines.
So taking a page out of the conservative book, I’m not going to talk much about how to fix the hole in the boat. I’m going to talk about how we can live productive, meaningful, and most of all good lives inside the sewer that this culture is becoming. We might be able to fix (or at least change) ourselves. But society is now a runaway pop engine fueled by vulgarity and juvenilism…and a whole lot of dumb ideas.
One reason I started this site was to have a kind of communion with people who have not gone off the deep end. No man is an island. We need others who value the same things that we do. We need to be surrounded, at least sometimes, by people who have both feet planted firmly in the ground and their faith suitably planted where it belongs as well. (Hint: God, not government.)
I see little chance of fixing what is broken. It’s all going to collapse. We’re about ten years behind Europe. We have front-row seats for what is going to occur. Sure, possibly things can change for the better. Possibly we could, as a whole, mend our ways and change course. But I could write a book on why that isn’t likely to happen.
So what I suggest we do is to get off the boat and into our own life rafts. I’ll meet you in the currents of reason, reasonableness, and rectitude.
— Brad Nelson is editor and publisher of StubbornThings.org. He self-describes himself as Patton in the culture wars but without the heavy armor.
Listing to the Left
Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
As an American I like to ascribe to “my country” a unique majesty, standing atop all else in the history of human institutions. However, as the passage from Ecclesiastes tells us – not really. Even those endeavors taken up with the best of intensions are subject to human decay and doomed to fail one day. For at the root of all human endeavor is the imperfect human. The very will to survive is the same that tears down the fabric of human institutions. The inevitability can be deferred only so long. Even if the hole in the boat can be fixed, the boat is no longer sea worthy. The American ship of state has been listing to the left for so long that it can’t be “righted”. The genie is out of the bottle and other such clichés.
Is the destruction/transformation of America inevitable? In my opinion, yes. Is that tragic? In my opinion, no. Life will go on, albeit different than we would have wished. What is tragic is the human heart not knowing God. It’s the hole in the human heart that needs fixing, not the hole in the boat.
— Glenn the Lesser is a wise member of the brain-trust of StubbornThings despite the “lesser” moniker.
Give the Bastards a Bronx Cheer
The first thing necessary to fix a boat is to stay with it. If one wishes to plug a hole in a boat, one has to actively do something. Sitting in a corner and bewailing the situation while intermittently sucking one’s thumb will do less than nothing to help. It will, in fact, distract those who are trying to save the ship.
Once one has calmed oneself and decided to get on with the job, what should one do? Let me submit a few very basic actions.
The best thing to stem the immediate flood is to get involved in politics, both national and local, now. Work for those people you wish to see elected to national office during this election cycle. Figure out what one or two issues are most important to you and decide which candidates will best serve your interests as regards those issues. Once you have done this, get out and work for those people as hard as you can. You are not going to find any politician who will satisfy all your desires so forget about purity. Christ left us a long time ago.
At the same time, think for the long term. National politicians come from local roots. By becoming active in local politics, you are having a big say on who may eventually rise to the national stage. Just as importantly, you are playing a significant part in deciding who runs things in your community. This means you can help determine who is in the mayor’s office and city council. But perhaps just as importantly you can influence who gets on the school board, your county commissioners and local judges.
Political involvement is probably the single most important short term way to halt the leak. But pumping out the polluted bilges is another thing altogether and it will take a long time.
In order to accomplish that, conservatives must regain some control over the culture. There is no question that the reconquest of the culture must begin at the family level. Time must be given to raising children. They must be taught properly. I don’t know if one can do anything as important for the future of our country.
Of course, there are others who we must approach. Friends and neighbors must be informed of the major problems facing our culture and how these are degrading our country. In other words, conservatives need to become teachers. And to be a good teacher, one must know the subject matter better than the students. Therefore, thought and effort must be given to the task at hand. We must be prepared to be honest and vocal about our beliefs.
For society at large, we must live conservative lives and send out clear signals regarding this. Everyone knows actions speak louder than words and those around you note your actions and your words. Never forget, that when a Leftist does something immoral he and his fellow travelers cry, “don’t be judgmental”, but when a conservative does something wrong, they yell, “hypocrite.” It is not fair, but who said life is fair?
I would exhort Christians to go out and spread their religion. Could anything bring about a more powerful turnaround of the nation than that? But I am not talking about the Joel Osteen type of “Christianity”. Nor am I talking about some phony version as is presently peddled by some mainstream denominations such as the American Episcopal Church with its complete disregard for biblical teachings. I am talking about a morals based movement which springs from those teachings which helped propel Western Civilization to the dizzy heights of history.
I would ask others to preach the pursuit of excellence and point out dishonesty, stupidity and contradiction wherever they find these.
Finally, I ask those in this war to be patient. If things don’t go your way immediately, don’t give up and go home. There is a reason for sayings such as “Half a loaf is better than none.” The Left knows this and was willing to accept crumbs for sustenance for a couple of centuries, yet they never gave up. Theirs is a long term project and they have had the patience and motivation to keep at it over many lifetimes. Can conservatives do any less?
The solution to our problem is simple, but to execute the plan will not be easy. If the goal of saving our nation does not motivate you, then perhaps the pleasure of beating down the lunatic Left will. Give the bastards a Bronx cheer.
The West may be falling, but there is time to reverse course if great efforts are made.
Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States.
Patching the Leaks
If the Titanic had faced a single large hole, it very likely would have survived its iceberg encounter. The ship had a number of compartments that could each be closed off with watertight doors. But the walls didn’t extend all the way up,and the result is that holes — even small ones, if they couldn’t be located and patched — in enough compartments would doom it. And that’s what happened on that Night to Remember/.
If one thinks of the United States as a large liner, it has a large number of holes hitting several compartments, and the ship is already listing. One can only hope that sinking isn’t inevitable, as it was for the Titanic/i>. Much of the problem stems from liberal infiltration of various institutions (a plan that goes back to the Fabian Society in Britain, a group of socialists led by George Bernard Shaw and Sidney and Beatrice Webb). Philip Crane identified the problem in The Democrat’s Dilemma, and suggested a counter-infiltration in response. The problem is that once the Left has completed its takeover, it can prevent any such effort by excluding conservative viewpoints (as we in fact see happening, one way or another, in many of them today).
The first hole is education. This includes not only the schools (and public education has become, all too often, a travesty of indoctrination rather than genuine education), but also those parts of the culture that are used to teach, as well as the general upbringing of children. All these can be corrupted by liberalism, and to some degree have been. Even parental behavior can be influenced, as MAD Magazine sagely observed decades ago:
Spock, Spock, the baby doc
Leads a peace march down the block.
Around him everywhere you look
Are kids he messed up with his book.
This hole must be patched if America is to be saved. Home-schooling and sensible private (and charter) schooling can play a role in this, but much also depends on culture, which is our second hold. Probably we can never completely patch this hole, but if we can find and promote entertainment and news that reflects conservative views, we could at least reduce the inflow to a more manageable level. After all, we’ve established that the Titanic could survive a single hole, or even a few for that matter. One solution might be for some super-rich conservatives (such as the notorious Koch brothers) to put money into buying information and entertainment sources.
Another hole is the legal system. Again, it’s probably hopeless to completely eliminate the liberal influence there. But there are plenty of conservative lawyers, and it would help if they were encouraged (and especially if we made sure to take care of any facing boycotts over politically incorrect cases). Then it would help if Republicans won control of the presidency long enough to put many of them into key judgeships — and figured out how to pick judges who don’t waffle as so many do. The Democrats, after all, never seem to have to worry about such betrayals.
Another hole that needs patching involves the culture of Washington DC (or, as I often call it, Versailles-on-the-Potomac). Obviously this will always be a city oriented toward government, and therefore dominated by its beneficiaries in power, money, or both. But the social milieu is also dominated by liberals, and this operates as an influence on conservatives who go there (as they will have to do to take roles in the federal government that runs things, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future). Oddly, Arianna Huggington once planned to create a conservative social counter-culture there, but then she turned liberal and the idea fell by the wayside. But it would certainly be helpful if a more reliable (and very personable) conservative worked toward that same end. We might get fewer betrayals that way.
Another hold, and a massive one, involves the invasion of America by primitive third-wordles. Democrats love them for their votes (at least eventually), and too many rich people and businesses love them for their cheap labor. But this invasion (foreshadowed, along with the failure of Western elites to oppose it, by Jean Raspal 40 years ago in The Camp of the Saints) is a great threat to America. Partly this results from the increasing number who don’t assimilate (this is an especially severe problem with Muslims). America can’t be America if its people are no longer Americans. Partly it results from the politics of it — the Democrats seek to make their political domination. Even if it doesn’t accomplish this, it will probably mean that the GOP will be even less interested in patching the holes than it is now.
There are also social and economic consequences. More immigrants — partly when they cause the supply of labor to rise faster than the demand for it, as is happening at present — create a downward stress on the working and middle classes. The elites (who conveniently face no such competition) benefit from this, while the rest of us are harmed. And the same thing happens from the crime rates that result from their cultural differences (especially rape). Rising crime encourages moves toward a police state. As Gil Robles observed in a Cortes debate a month before the Spanish Civil War, a nation can endure any form of government except anarchy — by which we might mean chaos.
Grassroots hostility has helped block efforts at immigration “reform” that always means more immigrants (legal and illegal) at our expense. But so far it hasn’t been able to force the sort of reform we really need, which is closing the immigration hole. It can be done, but it needs at least one good president who supports the grassroots rather than the elites, and doesn’t back down.
There are other holes, such as the various ways that public leeches can loot the public. Washington DC exists for them (especially the richer among them, and their lobbyists and lawyers). Again, this is very long-term and will probably never be complete (eliminating an entitlement that benefits the public at large, such as Social Security or Medicare, is virtually impossible). But a better-informed public could see what’s happening sufficiently to demand at least some reform. We did have welfare reform 20 years ago, after all.
There are so many holes, but I think this will suffice for now.
— Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.