|Mobs, Lynchings, and Psychos||"The Backs of our Mosts Vulnerable Citizens"|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm
NOW THAT the lefts McCarthyite attack on Sarah Palin has subsided, she merely has to suffer the disdain of the intellectual elite. Even James Taranto, admitted high-school dropout, damns her with faint praise.
This is nothing new. The nostrils of the educated class have always twitched at populist conservative candidates for president. Voters of a certain age will remember the disdain for Candidate Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan? Of course Ronald Reagan. Back in the 1970s Ronald Reagan was a wild-eyed right-wing conservative who could never be elected president. So a young conservative like me, already a devotee of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, went to my local precinct caucus in Washington State in early 1980 as a Bush supporter. Bush was more electable, you see.
At the precinct caucus I discovered something that changed my mind. In the Bush corner with me was a nice older couple. But across the room were the unwashed folks in the Reagan corner. They looked like technicians, construction guys, and they looked like they ought to be Democrats. And there were a lot of them. Ah ha, I thought. Something is afoot in America. So I switched to the Reagan side in that caucus and lived happily ever after.
Here in are in 2011 and nothing has changed. The popular, populist candidate of the ordinary working stiff is Sarah Palin, and the educated classes just cant get their wine glasses around the idea of a Sarah Palin as president. Wheres the experience, they wonder? Wheres the well-rounded education in political philosophy? Wheres the record as a successful administrator? Wheres the Ivy League degree?
I once used to believe in all that malarkey, and I agree that all those things are importantin the staff. The Germans figured this out two hundred years ago when they created the General Staff for their armed forces, complete with staff colleges. What are our modern policy analysts in their think tanks but the general staff of the nations political forces?
The big idea of the general staff concept is to free the leader from the details so he can concentrate on the big picture and win the battle. In warfare, we have the commander and his chief of staff. Already at the Battle of Waterloo the Prussian army was led by Blücher, with chief of staff Gneisenau to do all the brainiac stuff. In politics, we have the candidate up front and his consultant in the back room.
Let us hear what the creative destruction guy, Joseph Schumpeter, has to say about candidates and elections in his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. Democracy means only that the people have the opportunity of accepting or refusing the men who are to rule them... viz., free competition among the would-be leaders for the vote of the electorate.
The name of the game is winning elections. This means that electoral politicians are like football players, they are best they can be at what they do. They are professionals, experts in winning elections. Schumpeter quotes an unnamed politician: exactly as [businessmen] are dealing in oil so I am dealing in votes.
In 2012 Republicans will be nominating for president a professional politician to win an election. We cannot worry about administrative skills and legislative tactics and academic pedigrees. That comes later, in 2013. For now what matters is the skills of the professional politician: framing issues, sensing the mood of the people, moving the center, and telling the people what they want to hear, and doing it again and again.
We already know that Sarah Palin is No.1 when it comes to framing issues. Back in 2009, the summer of the death panels, old warhorse Pat Buchanan neighed his appreciation of her skills when he wrote: Of Sarah Palin it may be said, the lady knows how to frame an issue. No wonder. Palin has been a professional politician since 1992.
Heres another little nugget. In her first book, Going Rogue, Palin called herself a common-sense conservative, and repeated the notion every second sentence as she traveled around the nation on her book tour. Last fall, as she promoted her second book, the leopard had changed its spotsjust a little. Now Palin was a common-sense constitutional conservative. Who wouldnt prefer that to a ideological rule-by-czar liberal?
It just happens that Palin has a particular connection with the white working class, a large demographic that is up for grabs in 2012.
In the winter of 2011 President Obama is clearly tacking to the middle; he would be a fool not to. Already, his polls are improving. It will take the best politician, the best in America, to spoil his wind.
If theres a better politician around than Sarah Palin, wed better know his name by the summer of 2012.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
[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 Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, 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
[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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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