home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

After the Battle: Don't Raise Taxes A Very American Hero

print view

How Much Ruthlessness is Enough?

by Christopher Chantrill
May 24, 2005 at 3:58 am

|

A COUPLE of weeks ago the left-wing blogger Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos told us what the Angry Left is all about.

“We will be quick, ruthless, and diligent. We won’t show mercy, because we haven’t gotten any. We will play their game, and play it better. And we will prevail.”

He was talking about the grand plan of the Angry Left to stop the GOP nuclear option dead in its tracks. When the GOP triggers the nuclear option on the nomination of Priscilla Owen to the U.S. Court of Appeals, they will text-message all their friends and swamp the Senate switchboard with calls.

It makes sense that Kos and his lefty friends should believe in ruthlessness. It’s been a feature of the anti-capitalist movement ever since Marx and Engels spent their days ruthlessly purging and repurging the nascent socialist movement back in the nineteenth century. The revolutionary tradition worships the ruthless strike, the one savage coup that will transform the world. Lenin conceded nothing in the ruthlessness department, and his best-known epigone was recently featured in the movie Downfall lecturing his pretty blonde secretaries about the importance of ruthlessness—just hours before his whole revolutionary project collapsed in ruins. He seemed to think that his only fault was that he had been too soft.

When Kos & Co. justify their ruthlessness by insisting that they must play the game that the Republicans are playing, but “play it better,” they misunderstand the nature of the conservative project. Republicans know better than to be ruthless. First of all, Republican ruthlessness never plays well in the mainstream media. And secondly, Republicans actually believe all that silly stuff about playing by the rules. That is why they are called the stupid party.

If there is a defining characteristic of conservatives and Republicans it is not ruthlessness. Instead, they are relentless. If you look at the great conservative heroes, their great virtue was their relentless commitment to the conservative project, day in, day out, year in, year out.

They said that Ronald Reagan was a lightweight, an amiable dunce. But it turns out that he was fooling us. Reagan worked relentlessly—on his ideas, on his speeches, on his weekly radio addresses, and endlessly answering letters from the American people. But he projected an deceptive image of amiable ease, and his political adversaries bought the deception.

Some Democrats have started to wake up to the relentless nature of the conservative movement. They want to block the conservative message machine with a magic bullet, a message machine of their own, as if they were not already fielding a vast army of think tanks, universities, media, the left-wing activist community, and now the on-line fever swamp of MoveOn.org and DailyKos.com.

But mostly all they can think up is ruthlessness. In opposing the president’s foreign policy they have done a fine job ruthlessly exposing every mistake and abuse that the U.S. armed forces have committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and have trumpeted each one to the hills. They spent three months fearlessly exposing and re-exposing the Abu Ghraib scandal and now are ruthlessly digging up two-year-old dirt in Afghanistan. Next, we are all meant to be shocked at the Pentagon’s perfidy in allowing photos of Saddam in his skivvies to be published on the front page of The Sun and The New York Post.

The message of the abuse scandals may be rather different than the left supposes. Here and there, people may be noticing that in the American imperium abuses get investigated and grievances get redressed. The soldiers of Abu Ghraib got court-martialed; the abusers of Bagram Air Force Base eventually were charged with crimes. And Saddam can sue—from his jail cell—for suffering the humiliation of being featured not The Sun’s world famous Page 3 but on Page One.

No doubt the vaunted Arab Street is outraged at the perfidy of the hated Americans that piled prisoners in a heap, flushed Korans down the toilet, and published embarrassing photos of the deposed Saddam. And they should be. But they may be even more impressed as they witness the United States investigate, triy, and convict the perpetrators of these abuses. They are more familiar with the kind of justice that used to be available to the fathers of the many nubile young Iraqi maidens defiled by Saddam’s late sons.

Kos and his chums should think about where all their ruthlessness and diligence and mercilessness will lead them. How ruthless will they have to get to prevail against President Bush and his relentless policies of putting conservative judges on the bench in the United States and planting democracy in the Middle East? The record of history and the verdict of superhero comics suggest that there is not much to ruthless people—except ruthlessness.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.

 

 TAGS


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008


Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Sacrifice

[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Pentecostalism

Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization


presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact