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Euro-Humanity Upon The Wane The March of Educational Folly

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We Support Our GOP Troops. Then What?

by Christopher Chantrill
October 29, 2006 at 11:23 am


THOSE FAINT hearts who have already given up the 2006 mid-term election as lost have been rightly chastised. Our stalwart conservative talk-show hosts are rousing the troops to action, and until the election is over, the watchword is: This Day We Fight!

But there is no shame in admitting that the Republican Party is overextended and likely to suffer defeat next week on November 7. What comes after the battle is crucial, for the period after a battle, in victory or in defeat, is usually squandered.

After victory, the pursuit usually fails to exploit the opportunity to turn success into rout, and after defeat demoralization and disorganization typically result in a disastrous loss in materiel and a reduction in the fighting effectiveness of the army.

The most important skill of a leader may well be the ability to conduct a retreat in good order, preserving the army complete and ready to fight another day. To understand the truth of this we need only look at the Democrats, who since the defeat of 1994 have refused to admit that they needed to retreat and regroup. Instead they have adopted a politics of obstruction, utterly refusing to compromise on sensible Republican reforms of the welfare state. This, I believe, will prove to be a mistake, as I wrote in “Know When to Fold ’Em.”

However tired we may be, with Peggy Noonan, of President Bush we can say this of him. Unlike President Nixon, who neglected the Republican Party for his own Committee to Re-elect the President, and President Reagan, whose party-building had mixed reviews, President Bush has excelled at party building. It was party-building that won the 2004 election. The Democratic presidential vote increased by 16 percent in 2004 over 2000, but the Republican vote increased 23 percent, thanks to the Republican ground game.

And then there is the power of talk radio. Listen to a loyal Democrat, Camille Paglia:

The overblown fear of Fox News is such a sentimentality on the part of too many Democrats. Talk radio is infinitely more powerful than Fox. Radio hosts are blanketing the country with round-the-clock conservative ideology... creating programs that millions of people want to listen to.

So conservatives have a first-rate political machine. Thank you, talk radio; thank you Karl Rove; thank you Ken Mehlman; thank you everyone who works so hard on the ground game.

Our problem is that in 50-50 America every political issue turns into a World War I battle of attrition. A huge frontal attack is needed to conquer a few square miles of territory. We don’t want to use up our fine conservative troops in a war of attrition with the Democrats. No battle of the Somme for us, thank you.

So if things do not go well in November Republicans should not be afraid to execute a strategic retreat and lure the Democrats out of their welfare state trenches. Then we can engage them in a war of maneuver.

Although Democrats are ruthless at defending their pensions and their sinecures, the privileges of a century of the welfare state, they are tired of garrison life. They want to go on a crusade, a crusade to Save the Planet from Global Warming.

You see, we are living in the End Times, with Greenland glaciers calving monster icebergs and threatening another Flood. The answer is Sacrifice. We must cut back on carbon use, curb our wasteful use of personal vehicles, and generate electricity from eco-friendly renewable resources. If you think all this talk about End Times, Salvation, Floods, and Sacrifice sounds very like a religion, read “Eco-Sacrifice is Closer Than You Think.”

While liberals are competing to be altar boys at the High Mass, Kyoto Rite, their welfare state is going down the tubes. Liberals seem to worry more about the half-life of highly toxic radioactive waste than about the waste of childhood in dumbed-down public schools. Could it be that aborti-philic childless liberals don’t care about kids?

Here’s the plan. While the liberals are off on their crusade to Save the Planet from Global Warming, a revived Republican Party swoops down upon the bureaucrats that the liberals left behind to run the welfare state for them.

How about riling up a new political category, Education Moms, to get up off the heated seats of their SUVs and demand choice and accountability in education for their children?

For instance: why is it that year after year high-school kids need remedial math and English at college? Don’t our high-school teachers care about kids? Don’t they care enough to do something when there’s a problem staring them in the face?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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.

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

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust

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

Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

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

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

Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

Never Trust Experts

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, “Letter to Lord Lytton”

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph

Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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