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The Fight Against Sprawl Democrats Say: We Are Too Patriotic

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Winning by Losing

by Christopher Chantrill
February 20, 2007 at 10:15 am


SO CONSERVATIVE columnist Jonah Goldberg is the first bigfoot conservative to mention the unmentionable. Maybe it would be best for the Republicans to lose the presidency in 2008. Not that he is being defeatist. Not at all. He is thinking about the future.

If the war on terror really isn’t that big a deal, hurray. Then Democrats can’t do that much damage, and we can all argue about the minimum wage and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plane. If it is a big deal, Democrats need to be slapped out of their anti-Bush hysteria by real life.

Our Democratic friends have made quite a issue recently of belonging to the “reality-based community,” (as opposed, you see, to the faith-based community.) But any time you are in opposition you are not really dealing with reality. Instead you are dealing with faith—faith that the other guys are rascals leading the nation to ruin. Reality is making mistakes and then doing something about it.

The meaning of the Democratic taunt, of course, is that Republicans are operating in a dream world, primarily with regard to the war in Iraq, but also in regard to other issues of reality, such as evolution and theocracy. After all, as everyone--even those with the most tenuous grasp of reality--knows, the United States is this close to a theocracy.

Of course both political parties and their partisans find it difficult to admit that it is ever time for the other party to be elected to power. Apart from questions of loyalty and defeatism, every partisan knows that the other party just cannot be trusted with the government of the nation.

But a little thought surely indicates that the opposite is true. The most important thing in politics is to put the rascals on the other side in power and let them demonstrate in short order how bad they are. Democracy is the political system where the people get what they want—good and hard. Because of this the people have become fairly good at is discerning when they have had it good and hard and they just aren’t going to take it any more. At that point they decide it is time for a change.

Remember 1992. The Democrats won the White House and they thought Happy Days Are Here Again. The awful “Me Decade” of the 1980s was over and America would once again be governed by people who were just more educated and enlightened than the yahoos of the Religious Right.

How wrong they were. The American people took one enlightened mouthful and spat it out two years later.

The best thing that could happen for Republicans is for a Democrat to get elected to the White House in 2008 and then lose both houses of Congress two years later, just like in 1994.

Beyond the question of simple political hygiene there is another factor that demands a Democratic president in 2009. It is the refusal of the Democrats to countenance any substantive reform of their vast welfare-state patronage system.

We know that Social Security must be reformed from a transfer-payment system into a savings system. But the Democrats have demagogued and blocked reform.

We know that the health-care system must be reformed so that people start making real choices with their own money about the kind of health care they want. But Democrat evangelism has raised a vast faith-based community to believe that health care is an absolute and indivisible right.

Then there is education. Again and again Republicans have called on Democrats to get their special interests out of the school house door and suffer little children to get the education they deserve. Again and again Democrats have refused.

After fighting on offense on these basic issues year after year and getting the elbow from Democrats and indifference from the mainstream media it is time for Republicans to regroup.

We know what the Democratic will do once they are back in the White House: They will call for more spending, more centralization, more regulation, and no reform.

They are determined to test the welfare state to destruction.

The next time that Republicans once more gain the White House the unreformed welfare state will have experienced two or six or even twelve more years of testing to destruction. That will be a shame. It would be better for us if we could reform it today. It would be better for the helpless clients of the welfare state. It would be better for the reality-based office holders and the managers of the welfare state. It would be better for America.

But the truth is that we won’t get reform until Republicans sweep into office in another election like 1980. Remember those first months of 1981? Ronald Reagan had a mandate to cut the budget and cut tax rates and cut inflation. The Democrats knew it in their bones.

We want them to get the same feeling once again.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

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

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”


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity

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


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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